Vincent Kompany praised Crawley for frustrating his Burnley side for much of their Carabao Cup third round tie at Turf Moor.
It took two late goals from substitute Anass Zaroury – both close-range finishes in the 79th and 90th minutes – to kill off the League Two side’s hopes of adding another giant-killing to the scalps of League One Bristol Rovers and Premier League Fulham in the previous rounds.
Burnley completely dominated the third-round tie at Turf Moor and spurned several good chances but Kompany was impressed by Crawley’s dogged resistance after they had taken a shock 23rd-minute lead through Burnley-born striker Dom Telford.
Ashley Barnes took only two minutes to equalise with a header from Charlie Taylor’s cross – his first goal from open play since February 2021.
But the Clarets had to wait until Zaroury’s late double to clinch their passage to the fourth round.
Kompany said: “First of all I want to compliment the opposition. I think they gave everything – they put their bodies on the line.
“In the end I look at these games and ask ‘did we create enough chances?’ and we did and we probably should have scored more. But sometimes not scoring, it’s because of good defending so that always plays a role.
“The game didn’t develop in an ideal way for us because the one chance we conceded to them, it’s a goal and then you know you’ve got to be patient and work the opposition.
“It was a bit late for the second goal but as soon as that came, it gave us more chances and that is usually what happens. And the third goal was a world-class goal as well.”
The win put Burnley back on the winning track after their 17-game unbeaten run ended in a 5-2 defeat at Sheffield United at the weekend and boosted morale for Sunday’s top of the Championship table local derby with neighbours Blackburn.
Kompany defended his decision to make nine changes with one eye on that game, adding: “All these games are very significant. You can dismiss them but if you lose today it gives you a very sour feeling going into a very important game.
“But I do feel it is common sense to make changes given how hectic the schedule is and utilise your squad. We put a lot of time and effort into the players that the fans don’t always see and I’m happy that they got the chance to go out there and carry the torch for us.
“We depended on another set of players tonight and they showed they are making progress so that was good. And there was not too much of a difference in the way we played.”
The tie, however, looked as if it might be heading to a penalty shoot-out until Zaroury struck.
The Belgium Under-21 international, sent on as a 56th-minute substitute, served an early warning to Crawley when he lifted a shot onto the roof of the net after some neat skill put him in space.
Then with 11 minutes left he was in the right place to tap the ball in from a couple of yards out after Barnes had helped on the impressive Manuel Benson’s cross.
The former Charleroi winger added his second with a similar close-range finish in the 90th minute from fellow sub Vitinho’s cross.
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