Hard work pays off for Clarets in City draw

03/02/2018 Premier League Burnley v Manchester City''Johann Berg Gudmundsson scores Burnley's equaliser
03/02/2018 Premier League Burnley v Manchester City''Johann Berg Gudmundsson scores Burnley's equaliser
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Hard-working teams will never go out of fashion, according to Clarets boss Sean Dyche.

The Turf Moor chief isn’t claiming to have bucked a trend but it’s an attribute that has been a prerequisite, almost a trademark, of any side that he’s governed.

It’s a trait that he’s identified with from his days in Nottingham Forest’s youth system under Brian Clough and the former defender has been a dedicated follower of that particular fashion ever since.

In his pre-match press conference, ahead of the arrival of Manchester City, he said: “Two things will never go out of fashion – a team that works hard. Fans love to see that, whatever level of fan you are.

“Players with a shirt on working really hard. The other thing is winning. Anyone who tells you different is mad. Everyone loves to win.

“Winning is winning. People who say, my team play this way or that way, beneath it all is winning.

“They’ve never lost sight that teams have got to work hard and play tough. They’re all doing it, all the foreign managers want their teams running hard, pressing, tackling.

“Teams that win the World Cup, not many win it because of all their talent. Look how hard they work. Look at the stats. There’s a lot more to it than that.”

It shone through in the performance against the Premier League’s champions-elect as Burnley claimed another famous point.

The Clarets have compiled quite a catalogue in their three-and-a-bit seasons in the top flight but the club’s latest entry arguably eclipses the rest.

The club has now accumulated 27 points against the division’s recognised top six but Pep Guardiola’s side was the strongest that they’ve held.

City are running away with the title for a reason. Reaching the latter stages of both domestic cups has been no fluke. And they’re favourites to bypass FC Basel to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

At times their movement around the pitch was simply breath-taking. They made the field look so big against opposition that has expertise in restricting the space.

However, at the end of it all, Burnley’s toil matched City’s talent. It was backs to the wall at times, but the home side’s game management was spot on.

The focus will no doubt deflect to Raheem Sterling’s inexplicable miss that would have put the game to bed but the hosts had threatened numerous times before Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s well-taken equaliser.

City led through Danilo’s glorious strike midway through the first half, bending the ball in to the top corner once Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva had worked a short set-piece.

From that position, the home side could have feared the kind of steamrollering that City have administered several times this term.

But it was Burnley who went close to getting the next goal. Ederson saved splendidly from the most unlikely of sources; palming away Ben Mee’s volley at full stretch as the centre back met Jack Cork’s lofted pass.

The skipper went close again soon after, slipping in-between Kyle Walker and Danilo to flick Gudmundsson’s corner just wide of the upright.

The Citizens almost doubled their advantage before the interval as Nick Pope repelled De Bruyne’s attempt while Sergio Aguero failed to adjust himself quick enough to convert the rebound.

After the break, which saw Matthew Lowton replace Phil Bardsley, another opportunity was squandered as Sterling scooped over the crossbar when well-positioned from Aguero’s pass.

City’s Brazilian goalscorer almost netted a replica of his opener on the hour, again from a De Bruyne corner, but this time Pope was able to get a fingertip to the ball to turn it over the bar.

The away side’s uncharacteristic profligacy was always putting their slender lead under threat and once again they were reliant on Ederson to preserve their lead.

This time the former Benfica goalkeeper produced an outstanding stop to deny Aaron Lennon a goal on his full debut.

The Brazilian’s quick reactions saw him push Lennon’s stinging drive against the woodwork following productive work from Gudmundsson and Cork in the build up.

Sterling has scored 19 times in all competitions this season but only he’ll know how he failed to add another.

It appeared harder to miss when Walker put the ball on a plate for him at the back post, the right back’s assist required a simple tap in, but the winger somehow steered his effort the wrong side of the post.

And then the inevitable happened, after Guardiola pulled Sterling from the pitch. It was Gudmundsson who enacted the punishment, ghosting in behind Walker to meet Lowton’s delivery first time to beat Ederson and make it 1-1.