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Championship: Superb Burnley secure instant Premier League return

Vincent Kompany said "quicker is better sometimes" after his Burnley side defeated Middlesbrough 2-1 on Good Friday to return to the Premier League at the first time of asking.

Ashley Barnes, who confirmed he will be leaving the club at the end of the campaign, opened the scoring for the Clarets at the Riverside Stadium before Chuba Akpom's penalty for Middlesbrough shortly after the break levelled the scores. 

However, Burnley were not to be denied this opportunity to secure promotion and they grabbed the winner in the 66th minute when Connor Roberts steered in Nathan Tella's near-post cross. 

bet365's Steve Freeth said: "To seal a Premier League return before the Easter eggs are cracked open is an impressive achievement for a side we wrote off earlier in the season. 

"After making Norwich and Watford favourites for an instant return last summer, we took our medicine by paying out early on the Clarets as title winners back in February. 

"It will certainly be a different Burnley playing style to what the Premier League had been accustomed to in recent years - but they are a familiar price for relegation at 4/5

"We did however get it wrong back in August when thinking Vincent Kompany would have a tough task on his hands dealing with a number of key players departing Turf Moor and the huge turnover of staff, and we could be made to pay again if they continue on this upward trajectory under the Belgian with them 12/1 to finish in the top half. 

"That’s if they keep hold of Kompany, of course."

It was a memorable evening for Kompany, who took charge of the Lancashire outfit last summer, and he admits this outcome was not expected so quickly. 

He told Sky Sports: "It's Easter, there's seven games to go and we are already celebrating. We didn't expect this. We wanted to experience it one day, but we had a different timing on it. Quicker is better sometimes. 

"There is a belief in the team, and it is still a team that can improve and that is the exciting part. They're like kids, they're celebrating like kids and that's fun to see."

New approach pays offs

Having been under the guidance of Sean Dyche for a decade, Burnley made the decision to change their managerial approach by bringing in Kompany, who brought in a more possession-based style. 

It was not the easiest start to the campaign for the former Manchester City captain, who struggled for consistency early doors and picked up just six points from the club's first five matches. 

But the 36-year-old never lost faith in his approach and his side are the first team in the EFL to secure promotion this season, having been top of the Championship since 25th October. 

The Clarets are also the first team to earn promotion to the Premier League with seven matches still to play since the second tier rebranded in 2004, again highlighting just how impressive this season has been. 

With seven games of the campaign remaining, Burnley now just need 11 points to secure the title - something they are 1/200 to achieve - while collecting 13 points will see them become the first team since Leicester in 2013/14 to break the 100-point barrier. 

Burnley also have three home assignments left, starting with Easter Monday's clash against Sheffield United, and if they can avoid defeat across that trio of matches they will become the first Championship team since Newcastle in 2009/10 to go unbeaten at home.

Clarets ahead of schedule

While this promotion came as a shock to Kompany, there was a similar reaction from Burnley chairman Alan Pace, who told Sky Sports after the Boro victory: "This is a complete surprise, this was not our plan. Vincent and I spoke during the summer and talked about it in great length. 

"We gave ourselves two to three years [to get promoted, that] was the plan. What you're seeing is a lot of magic coming together." 

Having got back to the Promised Land earlier than anticipated, future plans will have to be brought forward now and preparations for next season in the top flight will be firmly in focus. 

It will be interesting to see what approach Kompany takes when it comes to recruitment in the summer and exactly what budget he will be given to improve his squad. 

There was already a huge change in the squad last summer, an out with the old and in with the new approach to say, and more transfer activity could be witnessed at Turf Moor again. 

Kompany will surely look to bring in reinforcements that boast Premier League experience, while he may also try to add in a couple of individuals that offer an x-factor. 

However, Burnley's first task in hand is finishing out the Championship season in strong fashion and they face a tough home clash against second-place Sheffield United on Monday at 20:00. 

The Clarets are 11/10 To Win in the Full Time Result market, while the draw is priced at 5/2 and the Blades are 5/2 to claim the spoils.  

Barnes can be backed at 12/5 to score Anytime in the Goalscorers section, while he is 6/1 to net First once again. 

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