Irish Daily Star



- ■ Ian PARKER

VINCENT Kompany has told his Burnley players they must approach tomorrow’s crunch relegation battle against Sheffield United without fear.

The match at Bramall Lane goes beyond the usual six-pointer, as defeat for either side is likely to spell doom; Burnley sit six points from safety with five games to play while the Blades are a further four points back, albeit with a game in hand.

But Kompany, whose side have suffered from individual errors in defence in their last two games, does not want his players worrying about the consequenc­es of making a mistake.

“I think this game could be a game of fear or a game of no fear,” Kompany said. “From our side, our approach is no fear, go for it. We’ve had good performanc­es this season and bad performanc­es this season but our goal is to take on the game the way we feel it should be approached.

“It’s a privilege to be in this league and to be able to showcase all the good things about our team at this level. It’s brought us closer to results, doing that, and we hope it’s something that on the day we can achieve.”

Burnley won the reverse fixture 5-0 in December — a result which proved to be the end for Paul Heckingbot­tom as United manager — but the Clarets have not been able to kick on and both sides have remained in the bottom three ever since, with Chris Wilder’s return as manager doing little to lift the Blades.

“I don’t see how a draw is good for either team,” Kompany added. “You can ask Mr Wilder the same question but I can’t imagine (he’ll say any different). I think if it was a draw on Saturday it will be in other places they’ll be happy about the result.”

Burnley are trying to stave off an immediate return to the Championsh­ip, but Kompany said the experience of their last relegation and the season that followed — promoted as champions with 101 points — showed it did not all need to be doom and gloom.


“We have nothing to lose,” he said. “What are the consequenc­es? OK, I understand what the consequenc­es are but it’s not the worst thing that can happen, it’s not sending us into the abyss. It’s not like we don’t know the league, that we haven’t been in the Championsh­ip as a club. Why have fear?

“Just play and try and be in the Premier League. That’s the goal. Think of only that objective. The rest, it’s the type of the club that has dealt with that reality for almost as long as the club has existed.”

Kompany did not give a definitive answer but indicated that Aro Muric would continue in goal after highprofil­e mistakes proved costly both in defeat at Everton and last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Brighton.

Muric replaced James Trafford in goal last month and overall results have improved.

“I’ve had this type of season with players where I’ve had to back them or I’d have no players left on the pitch,” Kompany said. “You support them because it’s not an issue of talent. Players have shown in moments they’re really good players but it’s the consistenc­y of it.

“You can’t force that. It comes with time. So it’s the same with Aro, Trafford, so many players in our team. You have to support them and back them and at some point you get the rewards.”

 ?? ?? ALL OR NOTHING: Burnley and Kompany face a crunch clash tomorrow
ALL OR NOTHING: Burnley and Kompany face a crunch clash tomorrow
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