Vincent Kompany saw Nathan Tella Burnley’s brace blast into the last 16 of the FA Cup and then joked that he hid his phone in January to make sure the striker wouldn’t be recalled by Southampton.
Tella scored after just 46 seconds of Tuesday night’s fourth round replay against Ipswich, but Burnley needed his second in stoppage time to beat the Tractor Boys, who were level with George Hirst just three minutes into the game, 2-1 defeat.
The goals were Tella’s 10th and 11th of the season for Burnley, the sort of production goal-shy Southampton that could use themselves in their fight against relegation.
“We hid the phones and made sure nobody contacted us,” Kompany said with a laugh when asked if Saints boss Nathan Jones had ever asked for Tella to be recalled. “The last thing we wanted was to ask questions. We’re happy he’s here with us and that’s all that matters.”
Tella struggled for game time at Southampton last season, making just 14 starts in all competitions, and Kompany believes the 23-year-old has thrived on the extra responsibility he has at Turf Moor.
“These kinds of players need to play, that’s ultimately why he’s here, but there’s never been any doubt about his ability to score and you can see in front of goal he just needs to get into the right position and he needs to get the get service,” he said.
“The other side is that he works hard for the team. He not only strengthens us when we have the ball. He gives us something when we don’t have the ball. It’s the right place at the right time for him. We’ll see after that, but he’s doing what he has to do now.”
The win gave Burnley a last 16 draw at home to League One Fleetwood, offering a clear chance to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2003.
Kompany’s priority remains the league – as evidenced by the seven changes he’s made to his line-up – but a cup match wouldn’t hurt.
“We gave everyone a little bit of hope,” Kompany said. “That’s good. It’s something that lives in the background, but we can try to be a good team again in the championship and that will be our main focus now.”
After holding Burnley to a goalless draw at Portman Road, Ipswich once again showed why they are in the middle of the League One promotion race with a combative performance.
Although Tella’s late attack was a vicious blow, Ipswich boss Kieran McKenna made the long journey home a happy man.
“I’m really proud of the players and proud of the supporters,” he said. “I thought it was a very good performance against an excellent team.
“We came face to face with them, we played bravely off the ball and we represented ourselves the way we wanted to, especially after conceding so early. We’ve just been caught out by the pace and quality of an opponent we don’t often see.
“To show that we have responded, the players can be very proud of that. The most important thing now is how we can use the lessons and the level of the opponent and the level we showed in the two games to give us a boost and help us for the rest of the season.