Dan Black's verdict: Burnley will have to bridge the gap — but not with sides like Manchester City
Groundhog Day at the Etihad Stadium.
Burnley have now lost nine in a row at the home of the Premier League champions — the last six without answer — to which they trail 37-2 on aggregate.
This was the heaviest of the lot; both Vincent Kompany and Craig Bellamy were on the scoresheet the last time the Clarets had shipped six against Manchester City almost 13 years ago.
But this game is about levels, and while the hierarchy suggests that there are only 18 teams separating the FA Cup quarter-final rivals at present, it certainly isn't quite as black and white as that.
As Kompany correctly identified in the build-up: Pep Guardiola's expensively assembled superstars are attempting to win the Champions League, while Burnley are trying to win the Championship.
The hosts, with their hundreds of millions of pounds in valuation, boasted 415 international caps between them, and they had landed upwards of 60 domestic titles as a collective.
They even had the luxury of including a World Cup and Copa America winner as well as an Africa Cup of Nations champion in their starting XI. And that's before you even start to add Erling Haaland to the conversation!
There's no denying that the second tier leaders have a bridge to gap ahead of their return to the top flight. Fortunately, Manchester City aren't one of the sides they need to be getting closer to.
"We're 13 points clear, we had a good game at Old Trafford, we beat Bournemouth away, it's important that they understand that we're number 21 in English football," said Kompany.
"We're not number one, we're number 21. The amount of work we still have to put in is incredible, but we have to embrace it, and definitely not get carried away. We have so much to improve on, but this is the exciting part of it."
He continued: "It's the challenge we want, I wouldn't want any other challenge. Why would you aim for anything else? I don't have all the answers today, but I know there's still time.
"If you would've asked me the same question about this season in the Championship, I wouldn't have been able to give you the answer at the very beginning.
"We work hard, we think, we'll keep finding a way, there'll be good bits, some that we can't do again, there'll be players who improve, people will come in to strengthen, but that's the exciting part, to find a way to close the gap."
City have had the gift of time, with six years under Manuel Pellegrini's Spanish successor, which is something the Clarets can't match. The club is still very much in the developmental stage with their Belgian boss, who has a statue erected in his honour outside the West Stand.
With 20 new faces through the door this season, a completely revamped backroom team, and a new style of play to adjust to, it shouldn't be a 6-0 defeat to City that we're analysing.
Instead, in the face of all that was mentioned, we should be celebrating the fact that we're well ahead of schedule, with a first FA Cup quarter-final in two decades to add to what could yet be a record-breaking season.
The game against the Champions League quarter-finalists won't define this term, just as it won't be decisive to their fate next season when the fixture, once again, is a feature of the Premier League's programming. Burnley might have to plug the chasm, but it's not with City.
Kompany said: "That's all we can do. Time is always something, if you use it the right way, that will help us close the gap. I don't care if we're ever considered at the same level, getting better and getting up that table is still the name of the game. Not every team is Manchester City."
"Nobody can tell me that there isn't one or two players that don't have the potential to one day be a part of such a team. They know now how much work they have to do and it kind of facilitates my message."
The visitors had, in fact, been good for half-an-hour, as was applauded by Guardiola in his post-match briefing. They had even creating the best chances of the tie up to that point via their press and their artistry in transition.
Lyle Foster, selected ahead of Ashley Barnes, should have pulled the trigger when the opportunity presented itself with Stefan Ortega well out of position. However, the striker delayed his effort and the chance was gone.
Nathan Tella also had sightings of goal, but the Southampton loan ace was foiled by Ortega in the first instance before being pick-pocketed by Ruben Dias from Jordan Beyer's incisive pass.
But the tie changed within two key touches. The competitor within Kompany suggested that he would've relished the challenge of marking Haaland, but I'm not sure his two centre backs will now be sharing their boss' enthusiasm.
The 36-year-old had tussled with greats such as Alessandro Del Piero, Robert Lewandowski, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe during his playing days, but he won't have been confronted with a player quite like the Norwegian international.
His hat-trick, the second in two days after he put five past RB Leipzig in the Champions League, took his tally to 42 for the season in all competitions. He could potentially have 18 more games to play.
The ex-Borussia Dortmund forward preyed on the greenness of Ameen Al-Dakhil for his first, engaging with the defender, ensuring he finished goal side, before anticipating the pass from Julien Alvarez and poking the ball past Bailey Peacock-Farrell.
Phil Foden profited from Rodri's slide rule pass in the lead up to the second, before the England international put the ball on the plate for his team-mate to apply yet another first-time finish.
Burnley had given the striker an inch, but Haaland had taken a mile, to effectively take the game away from the Clarets within three first half minutes. Ian Maatsen had the chance to pull a goal back on the stroke of half-time, but Ortega stood tall to save.
The second half, however, saw the two opponents in a very different light. "Coming here as a coach, it feels like I've been coaching for 10 years, but when you see the opposition team, they've all been my team-mates," Kompany said. "It shows how quickly football goes.
"I know them as players, I know their mindset, I know how they approach these games, the culture of the place towards every game, the pressure to perform all the time. The expectations are very high.
"I had a feeling in the first half, we disrupted the flow a little bit, but in the end the result wasn't any different than they would've liked. In the second half it was a game they expected."
Burnley lost their way after the break. As their standards slipped, and City gathered momentum, the disparity between the two became even greater, and the hosts were imperious.
Peacock-Farrell denied Riyad Mahrez and Haaland early on, but the floodgates opened completely once the latter netted his sixth treble of the season, firing home the rebound after Foden's attempt had come back off the post.
"I've played against the greats of this time; Messi, Ronaldinho, Zidane, Cristiano Ronaldo, all these guys," said Kompany. "They're part of a very special elite because even the very best find it difficult to stop those guys. No matter what you say to try and stop them, they'll find a way.
"Someone like Erling [Haaland] will keep finding a way. The biggest thing for me is that his game can still improve and he looks to me like a superstar, but he's still willing to improve and that's exciting to see.
"The goal-scoring record in general puts you in a certain bracket. Goals are the hardest part of the game, but I still see the mindset to improve, he has done since he arrived six months ago, and if he continues to do that it's not something you experience a lot."
Alvarez, the only World Cup winner on the pitch, made it 4-0 with a tap-in from Kevin De Bruyne's assist, normal service was resumed when substitute Cole Palmer made it 5-0, before the Argentinian struck again to complete the rout, leaving Beyer on his behind and finishing well.
For Peacock-Farrell it will have evoked painful memories of his Premier League debut for the club when Mahrez hit a hat-trick in a 5-0 triumph in November 2020.
City, though, can do that to anybody on their day. They haven't lost to a Championship side at home in cup competitions in 11 attempts, since Middlesbrough sprung a surprise in 2015.
They put seven past Bundesliga title contenders Leipzig on Tuesday, they scored four against Chelsea, six against Manchester United in October and another six against Nottingham Forest at the start of the season.
Kompany ended: "The most genuine feedback I can give you; I've been in that dressing room time and time again when Championship teams came to the Etihad with a little bit of hope. You go back through the history of results and you'll see what happened.
"You can try every single shape and form, I've seen them all. I'll go back home and think the first 45 minutes were okay, and then find out why it went so wrong in the second half."