Burnley boss Vincent Kompany insists the pressure of managing in the Premier League motivates him and says Saturday’s clash against West Ham is not a ‘must-win’ game.
Since earning promotion as the runaway Championship winners last term, Burnley have lost 10 of their 12 Premier League games, including all six at home, to leave them rock bottom of the table with just four points.
While Kompany has been able to argue that there are encouraging signs in Burnley’s performances, fans are desperate to see points on the board.
“For the fans and for the surrounding of the club, I can absolutely imagine a win would be massive and would mean so much,” Kompany said.
“But I can’t be here and preach when we lose that we stay calm and we don’t get too emotional but then when we win it’s a carnival. I’ve got the same approach.
“If we win, it will be like any game, there will be things you’ve done well and things you need to improve upon. If you lose it’s the same approach.
“The main thing is to have that belief. If you go through your career or life as a professional athlete and you depend on confidence you’re fooling yourself and you’ll never achieve anything.
“You have to build your own confidence through the right habits and the right behaviour at work and that will remain at the forefront whatever the result.”
Kompany said his experience in the game and his long period of success as Manchester City’s captain had taught him there was little value in talking about the importance of winning if there was nothing to back it up.
“What I’ve always said is that it’s one thing speaking about winning, you can go out and say we have to win but what does it mean?” he said. “What’s being a winner if not a willingness to sacrifice, to put in the work, to have consistency in good times and bad.
“That’s a winner. I don’t jump on the bandwagon because I think that makes me a winner.
“My whole career, my whole life I’ve only been a winner for one reason and that’s how I conduct myself throughout the whole week and then how I cross that line whether as a manager or a player to go and attack the game. That has to live within the team.”
West Ham is the first of back-to-back home games for Burnley, with fellow strugglers Sheffield United the visitors next weekend.
While Turf Moor has offered no respite so far this term, these games are seen as crucial opportunities to pick up points. If not, the pressure will be building on both Burnley and Kompany.
“I’m a fairly good person to deal with pressure,” the 37-year-old said. “It seems like it almost motivates me more.”
Saturday’s opponents have blown hot and cold this season, with David Moyes’ side following up some strong early form with a four-game league losing streak before their come-from-behind home win over Nottingham Forest immediately before the international break.
“We know West Ham are such a strong opponent, you just have to look at the players they’ve got and the investments they’ve had in certain positions,” Kompany added. “I really like the squad they have, to be honest.
“OK, no game is going to be easy but it’s still the same mission to pick up three points.”