Kompany: Brighton are unique opposition – really exceptional

Looking ahead to Brighton’s visit to Turf Moor, Burnley boss praised the visitors for the challenge they present to Premier League opponents.

Albion make the long trip to Burnley today for a game most sides will feel they must win to give themselves a chance in their respective battles.

Brighton’s hopes of securing European qualification for a second season have diminished after a torrid March, with fortunes not improving in the first week of April. The Seagulls have picked up just five points from the last six Premier League fixtures, leaving Roberto De Zerbi’s side in tenth place, well below the dotted line that indicates passports may be required.

At the other end of the table, Burnley also sit below a dotted line, six points from safety with games now beginning to run out. An out-of-sorts Seagulls might be just what Vincent Kompany’s doctor ordered to give his ailing patient a much-needed pick-me-up.

What is certain is that neither manager will want a repeat of the stalemate played out at the Amex earlier this season.

The Clarets’ boss was asked about the challenges of facing Brighton, and was effusive in his praise:

“They’re a unique opposition in the sense that despite not necessarily being classed as one of the top six teams in this league, they’ve managed to establish themselves with all the habits of the top teams.

“They force opposition teams to adapt and for a team like Brighton to demand that from even the bigger teams, that’s really exceptional.

“That means it doesn’t matter whether the top six teams play against them, they have to adapt their game against them to play against Brighton and that’s a pretty special situation to be in.

“I give an example for us, when we were the best team in the Championship last year everyone had to adapt to play us. But in the Premier League none of the other teams wanted to do that because they won’t accept it, because they expect to have the better players.

“It took them a while to do that, I’m not saying it happened overnight, but within the space of five or six years they’ve managed to demand this and that’s pretty impressive.”

“If you line up with a man-orientated press, they have movement patterns to create space in behind and a really good control of the tempo of the ball and the angles they need to make to maintain possession.

“They have a goalkeeper who is essentially an outfield player and when they lose the ball, they recover the ball really quickly. When they have to defend, they’re able to try and do so.

“It’s not happened overnight, it’s taken them years to do that, but they are where they are now because they’ve had this idea for a long time.”

Images courtesy of Reuters