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Burnley’s FA Cup run came to an end yesterday when we suffered a 6-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium in our sixth round tie.

I think we all travelled in hope rather than in expectation for our first sixth round tie in twenty years but it seems nothing has changed for us at the Etihad as we fell to a big defeat and this having not only kept the score at 0-0 for over half an hour but looked the more likely.

Our short trip there yesterday took in the Trackside at Bury although I can confirm we arrived by car and not on the visiting Flying Scotsman. Then it was off to our usual parking spot and the tram to the stadium.

Vincent Kompany had made three changes from the team that won at Hull in midweek. I suspect we knew that Bailey Peacock-Farrell would play in goal and that potentially Ameen Al-Dakhil would play at the back but against such opposition as City it might have been a surprise to see Lyle Foster preferred to Ashley Barnes up front.

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Perched up in level 3 for this one, I can confirm that it’s not quite as high as the upper levels at Old Trafford or Molineux and very definitely nowhere near as high as the experience we’ll get again next season at St. James’ Park. It’s a decent view, that’s if you are brave enough to want to watch us play at City.

Since the draw was made, the link between our manager Vincent Kompany and his former club had been more than evident. He was a hero at City and this was their chance to show their respect on his first visit since leaving them. I could say the reception he received was unbelievable. It wasn’t; it was exceptional but just what you would have expected.

He was followed out onto the pitch by City ambassador (and former Claret) Mike Summerbee, another former City great, who recently received his OBE.

After all the pleasantries, we kicked off and after a concerning opening few minutes, we started to take the game to City. We won a couple of corners, Nathan Tella was twice close, once denied by goalkeeper Stefan Ortega Moreno and once through a superb challenge from Rúben Dias. Foster was also close to getting in a shot. At that point, only Burnley had registered a shot at goal.

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Then, via the simplest of routes, City went in front. It was no more than a long kick out from the goalkeeper. It found Erling Haaland who headed it back for Julián Álvarez. The Argentine forward played a through ball immediately; Haaland had turned in anticipation and he slipped a left foot shot past Peacock-Farrell.

Less than three minutes later and the contest was over when Haaland dinked a Phil Foden cross over Peacock-Farrell but the whole thing had been set up with a wonderful ball down our right from Kevin de Bruyne. As much as you want to watch great players, I was hoping De Bruyne and Haaland might have been rested for this one; they’d contributed to giving City a 2-0 lead that we knew we could not retrieve.

We had one last chance just before the break, only for Ortega to save well from Ian Maatsen and it left us going off at half time with a 2-0 deficit.

Jack Cork and Ashley Barnes were introduced for the second half. Whatever the reasoning was behind the changes, I doubt it made any difference. After starting brightly, we were hit with a City storm we could seemingly do nothing about.

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It was still 2-0 just before the hour but Haaland then completed his sixth hat trick of the season, following on from the last one four days earlier when he scored five of City’s seven against RB Leipzig. Fourteen minutes later, Álvarez had scored twice with Cole Palmer, who by now had come on for Haaland, also scoring, the second for Álvarez via an even better pass from De Bruyne than the one that helped set up their second goal.

There were still seventeen minutes plus stoppage time to go and it was frightening to think how many they might score. To be honest, I wondered if the eight I saw us concede at West Brom in the 1960s might be beaten, but, thankfully, City played the game out without inflicting any more damage.

Just before the end, City replaced De Bruyne and this magnificent footballer received warm applause from many in the away end as the home fans gave him the reception his performance had deserved.

“This is what we will come up against next season in Premier League games,” I heard someone say as we left. It’s not, it’s what we will come up against at Manchester City but nowhere else. There is no other team that can produce like this and no other team can boast the sort of quality we saw from De Bruyne and Haaland.

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It’s a horrible experience. No one enjoys watching his team losing like this but we’ve sort of got used to it at City over recent years.

At the start of January 2017, we lost 2-1 with Ben Mee scoring our goal. Since, we’ve played there eight times in league and FA Cup. In those games we’ve scored just once when Ashley Barnes gave us the lead in the FA Cup in 2018. We’ve conceded no fewer than 35 goals.

We’ve got a break now for the internationals but we all know we have so much to look forward to when we return. The FA Cup might have to wait another year at least for us but we will be back playing league games at places like the Etihad again next season.

It’s always deflating when you go out of the FA Cup. The further you go, the harder it is. City could go on and win it now while we await our much more important prize.

The teams were;

Manchester City: Stefan Ortega Moreno, Kyle Walker, Rúben Dias (Manuel Akanji 63), Aymeric Laporte, Rico Lewis (Gómez 66), Rodri (Kalvin Phillips 66), Kevin de Bruyne (Jack Grealish 89), Riyad Mahrez, Julián Álvarez, Phil Foden, Erling Haaland (Cole Palmer 63). Subs not used: Ederson, John Stones, Nathan Aké, Ilkay Gündogan.

Burnley: Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Connor Roberts, Ameen Al-Dakhil, Jordan Beyer, Ian Maatsen (Charlie Taylor 77), Josh Cullen, Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson (Jack Cork ht), Vitinho (Samuel Bastien 77), Nathan Tella (Michael Obafemi 64), Anass Zaroury, Lyle Foster (Ashley Barnes ht). Subs not used: Arijanet Muric, Manuel Benson, Scott Twine, Halil Dervişoğlu.
Yellow Card: Ashley Barnes.

Referee: John Brooks (Melton Mowbray).

Attendance: 51,688 (including 7,802 Clarets).

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