Will Burnley's Early Preseason Prove To Be A Masterstroke Or A Terrible Mistake?

Vincent Kompany's side have already begun warm weather training in Portugal ahead of the new season
12:00, 16 Jun 2023

Vincent Kompany’s mum was a trades union official when he was growing up in Belgium.

Quite what she would have made of seeing the Burnley players back in pre-season training last week would be fascinating to know. So much for workers’ rights. 

It is not even mid-June and Clarets boss Kompany is dragging his troops back to work when normally they would be resting their weary feet and toasting promotion from the Championship last season.


Even before Manchester City boarded their charter flight to Istanbul for the Champions League final last Thursday, Burnley were touching down for warm weather training in Portugal. 

The Quinta Do Lago sports centre is the setting for a 10-day boot camp and a most unusual break with the tradition of giving players the summer off before reporting back in early July.

The publication of the Premier League fixture list may provide insight into why Kompany has chosen such an unorthodox approach. Burnley face Treble winners City in their first game back in the top flight. 

They could not have asked for a tougher game and need all the practice they can get to keep 52-goal Erling Haaland at bay as they embark on a campaign of survival first.

The start to Kompany’s debut season as a Premier League manager is just over eight weeks away.

But instead of sticking to the norm and sending his players off for two months then hauling them back for gruelling training in the run up to the big kick off, the four times Premier League winning defender is confident enough to do things his way.

Legendary Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger used to complain about many things. One of those was the ever-decreasing time players had away from kicking balls and pushing themselves to the limits to handle the slog of an English campaign stretched across ten months between August and May.

The Frenchman claimed that his men required a minimum eight weeks to allow the ‘micro-injuries’ they pick up from wear and tear week in, week out, to properly heal. 

Kompany seems like a nice guy but no chance of that with him cracking the whip.


Turf Moor’s ultimate taskmaster says he will be giving his players a break in between this current excursion to the Algarve and the full-on return to training next month. 

Pictures of the players frolicking around in a swimming pool suggest it is just a lightweight getaway for the lads. But rest assured there will be hard work away from the lenses.

Which means there are reasonable concerns of burnout as it is only five weeks since Burnley ended their triumphant Championship season. 

Don’t forget there are 46 league games in England’s toughest division too. Eight more than the pampered Premier League.

Will they fly out of the blocks against Manchester City in August and be dead on their feet come Boxing Day’s home game with Liverpool?

Or will Kompany have pulled off a masterstroke with his unusual tactic and find a new way to help his players cope with the ever-increasing workload on footballers in England?

To have a team back in pre-season training before their next opponents have even finished their previous season is hard to get your head around.

But it is commonplace now for teams to play competitive games in mid-July with the advent of the Europa Conference League and even the Europa League qualifying rounds.

The game is changing and so are the players. The final whistle in the last games each May is now not the starting gun for a six week long p*** up for players who then sweat out the booze on arduous cross country runs wearing Dunlop Green Flash. 

One player I know who is not even a Premier League regular has just been to Tenerfie for three weeks - taking his personal trainer with him. Workout in the morning and chill by the pool after lunch is as rock n roll as it gets.

Kompany will either be hailed a football genius like Frenchman Wenger was back in the 1990s or Burnley will be down by Christmas with the players exhausted. Let’s hope it is the former.

Burnley are 2/1 to be relegated with Betfred*

*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change

Suggested Searches:
The Sportsman
Manchester United
Manchester City
Premier League
Sportsman HQ
72-76 Cross St
Manchester M2 4JG
We will not ask you to provide any personal information when using The Sportsman website. You may see advertisement banners on the site, and if you choose to visit those websites, you will accept the terms and conditions and privacy policy applicable to those websites. The link below directs you to our Group Privacy Policy, and our Data Protection Officer can be contacted by email at: [email protected]

All original material is Copyright © 2019 by The Sportsman Communications Ltd.
Other material is copyright their respective owners.