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Manchester City v Burnley: Emirates FA Cup Quarter Final

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Fan Focus: Burnley fan Vizeh says “new life has been breathed back in” under Vincent Kompany!

Ahead of tonight’s match we spoke to Burnley fan Vizeh to find out which factors are behind their success this season under Vincent Kompany. Which players should Sunderland be wary of?

Photo by Alex Livesey - Danehouse/Getty Images

Matthew Crichton: From being a side renowned for more pragmatic football with more functional than exciting players, Burnley have been completely transformed Vincent Kompany - what is the mood currently like amongst fans?

Vizeh: It sounds crazy but relegation was the best thing that could’ve happened to our club, new life has been breathed back in, you can feel it through every part of the club and the community.

Every game sold out, a real buzz when going to games, people are excited and engaged again despite recent years when we knew the same line-up, the same game plan, the same subs, everything.

MC: With the club sat 16 points ahead of Middlesbrough in third, promotion and the league are pretty much certainties, what do you think are the key factors behind Kompany’s success this season?

V: The key factor is our strength in depth, absolutely. This is a credit to VK and the board for smashing both transfer windows and supplying VK with the players he needs to replace suitably the massive turnover at our club in summer.

This gives us the freedom to cover players with quality through injuries and tiredness. Where I know other clubs may not have that privilege.

Hull City v Burnley - Sky Bet Championship Photo by George Wood/Getty Images

MC: Looking at your recruitment, so many lesser-known players have joined the club from Belgium for reasonable fees and hit the ground running, do you think this has shown that the Belgian league is an underrated market?

V: I think many leagues are an underrated market, Ekdal came from Sweden and is incredible too.

Belgium of course Kompany knows very well and trusts the data meets his eye tests. He’s been known for flying over often to scout players like where he’s done for Lyle Foster.

These all come with an element of risk of course, how will they adapt but he’s got a near perfect record so far for recruitment.

MC: One player who has thrived massively this season is on-loan winger Nathan Tella with 19 goals, what makes him so clinical and were you surprised that Southampton didn’t look to bring him back?

V: Nathan Jones was at Southampton thankfully, clearly he thought they didn’t need him and we are grateful for that.

Tella is lightning, direct, full of energy and never gives the defenders a moment to rest. That relentless nature of him to work the hard yards and get into promising positions has given him the opportunity to rack up the goals.

Manchester City v Burnley: Emirates FA Cup Quarter Final Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

MC: With wide players Annas Zaroury and Manuel Benson also in double figures for goals this season, would you say that Burnley’s best strengths are in wide areas?

V: Our wide men are key when it comes to creating chances of course, full of flair and unpredictability which is a joy to watch. Our strikers play deeper more like a 10 to link up play. Meaning goals can come from anywhere which makes us so hard to stop.

Our fullbacks play inverted high up the pitch in Maatsen and Roberts so they are just as much of a threat also.

MC: Aside from the above-mentioned players, who has impressed you most this season?

V: Josh Cullen is our star player and at the same time our most underrated. This may sound ridiculous but in the media or with some Burnley fans they seem to not highlight the importance of his role in our system. Watch him on Friday and you’ll realize how vital he is.

Burnley v Fleetwood Town: Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round Photo by Dave Howarth - CameraSport via Getty Images

MC: Burnley are unbeaten this season at Turf Moor in the league, where do you think Sunderland may have some success given that your squad appears to have little weak spots?

V: I don’t want to be disrespectful but in your form and the fact all our injured players are now back, the best id expect is perhaps a 1-1, which is a common theme with us if we don’t win.

You have some pace and will look to go at us, which usually when teams try to play and get at us we picked them apart. Swansea tried it and lost 4-0.

MC: How do you think Kompany will approach the match tactically?

V: Same as always, on the front foot, using our quality in midfield and defense to dominate the ball. We usually go in a sort of 2-3-5 formation of the sorts with both fullbacks joining midfield to add numbers to pin the opposition in.

For home games I have full confidence we play our style.

Hull City v Burnley - Sky Bet Championship Photo by George Wood/Getty Images

MC: Are any players currently missing through injury and which eleven players do you think he will select?

V: Thankfully everyone is back on the pitch and in contention other than I think Brownhill. Benson, Jay Rod, Harwood-Bellis are back. We should be at full strength.

Our 11 should be Muric, Roberts, Beyer, Ekdal, Maatsen, Cullen, Gudmundsson, Zaroury, Tella, Vitinho, Barnes.

MC: Sunderland went 2-0 up against Burnley earlier this season, before conceding four in the second half - what is your score prediction for this time around?

V: I think due to the 6-0 loss to City, I expect the lads to have a point to prove and be on it. I know that you are missing some key players too which is a shame.

I expect us to perform so I’d say 3-1 Burnley. I’d say you’d score as that could be possible due to our high risk high reward football.


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