Vincent Kompany unsure of exact permutations as Burnley edge closer to promotion

Burnley manager Vincent Kompany saw his side held at home by Sunderland (Mike Egerton/PA)
PA Sport staff

Vincent Kompany admitted he still did not fully know the mathematical permutations of Burnley’s promotion bid but a goalless draw with Sunderland moved them one point closer to the Premier League.

The first-year Burnley manager could actually see his team secure a return to the top flight with a victory at third-placed Middlesbrough on Friday, if other results fall their way.

Had Burnley beaten Sunderland at Turf Moor, three points at Middlesbrough on Friday would have guaranteed promotion.

But a maximum of eight points from their remaining eight games will definitely see Burnley clinch a top-two spot, with the possibility of Kompany celebrating that achievement on Easter Monday, his 37th birthday, when his team host their closest rivals Sheffield United.

“Honestly, I don’t know where we stand mathematically,” said Kompany.

“I’m sure if I made an effort I would, but you’re in a bubble when you’re a coach. The clocks changed an hour last Sunday and it was Friday before I realised!

“That’s truly what happens, you focus on what brings you an advantage for the next game, that’s the thinking. I just know our team at its best can win five, six, eight games in a row. We shouldn’t doubt it.

“But I have been whispered the mathematics. I found out before the game today that we had two games to win to go up and now we need a couple more.

“In the end we took this game very seriously and gave it all the merit it deserved but we knew it was going to be difficult.

“Sunderland are a good team and I think somewhere down the line we will look at this as a good point – but I’m not there yet!

“It’s not a bad point and it gives us something to work on next week, and that’s a good thing for a coach. We will take Middlesbrough seriously too and what comes after, comes after.”

The goalless draw means Burnley are undefeated in their last 18 league games, winning 14, since defeat at Sheffield United on November 5 and have led for all but 137 of the 1,620 minutes they have played in that run.

But Kompany was left frustrated by a disciplined performance from a Sunderland side who became the first since Manchester City, almost exactly 12 months ago, to keep a clean sheet in a visit to Turf Moor.

Indeed, the Black Cats might have inflicted a first home defeat of the season on Kompany’s side as they came close to capitalising on Burnley pushing for a second-half winner.

Substitute Amad Diallo, on-loan from Manchester United, struck the crossbar, via a deflection off Josh Cullen, with virtually his first touch after 68 minutes, with the rebound falling straight to relieved keeper Arijanet Muric.

And Jack Clarke also had the ball in the Burnley goal just before the final whistle but the effort was ruled out for offside against Abdoullah Ba who was blocking Muric.

“It was a great experience for the players and they will learn from it,” said Sunderland manager Tony Mowbray. “There were plenty of positives.

“We came away from home against a team that’s top of the table and we’re disappointed we didn’t take one of our chances – we hit the crossbar and had a goal that was marginally offside.”