Match ends, Burnley 3, Southampton 0.
Burnley manager Sean Dyche said his side have "come back with a real edge" as the Clarets made a winning start to the new Premier League season against Southampton at Turf Moor.
Burdened by the additional demands of Europa League qualifying 12 months ago, the Clarets endured their worst start to a top-flight season since 1927 to leave them bottom of the table with one point from their opening five matches.
In contrast, on Saturday they recorded their biggest opening day league victory since 1966 with three goals in 12 impressive second-half minutes.
Striker Ashley Barnes scored twice, the first coming on 63 minutes with the hosts' first shot on target as he scored from summer signing Erik Pieters' cross.
The pair again linked up as Barnes fired into the corner to double the advantage, before midfielder Johann Berg Gudmundsson added a third from a tight angle as Sean Dyche's side got their campaign under way in style.
"We've all learned from last season. It doesn't guarantee anything but the brain's clear and they've come in with a thirst and desire knowing how tough the Premier League is," said Dyche.
"It's a nice start for us. The mentality and energy, the will and desire was all there. The lads have come in really bright this season."
Southampton started the game brightly - £15m summer signing Che Adams narrowly missed the target in the opening minutes, and Nathan Redmond also going close with a powerful, rising shot at Nick Pope's goal before the interval.
The game was also not without calls to the video assistant referee system. VAR upheld an offside call that had ruled out Burnley striker Chris Wood's effort after 16 minutes - and was called on to review two potential first-half red cards. Adams arrived high and late on Burnley's Ben Mee, while Gudmundsson crunched in on Ryan Bertrand - but neither was shown a card.
Burnley make flying start
With their European exploits behind them, Burnley embarked upon an impressive unbeaten run at the turn of the year, during which they looked more like the side who finished seventh a year prior.
That run ensured a fourth consecutive top-flight season at Turf Moor and, with attention solely on the league at the beginning of 2019-20, Dyche called on his side to learn from the challenges faced in the previous campaign. They could not have hoped for a more promising start.
After battling through an even first half, the Clarets - who had rarely threatened - blew Southampton away in the space of 12 minutes as Barnes demonstrated his quality in front of goal.
Having suffered a club record 10 home league defeats last season, this was first and foremost a typically solid performance, built on captain Mee and James Tarkowski's partnership.
But after recording the lowest number of top-flight attempts on goal last season, discovering a clinical edge was a challenge for Burnley this campaign - and one to which Barnes duly responded.
On Barnes, Dyche added: "I have great admiration for him. This pre-season he didn't score a goal and he looked hungry for it.
"The first goal was a fantastic touch and finish, it was great skill. His second finish was sublime, it's a brilliant ball by Erik Pieters, but when centre-forwards finish like that it looks easy. It's not easy when the ball is coming over your shoulder like that."
Hasenhuttl left with plenty to ponder
A first full season under manager Ralph Hasenhuttl offered much optimism for Saints fans. The Austrian successfully guided the club to safety last term despite assuming control of a side with just one win and nine points from their opening 15 matches.
Nicknamed the 'Klopp of the Alps' during his tenure at previous club RB Leipzig, the Austrian has worked quickly to implement a more attacking philosophy at St Mary's - and reaped the early rewards.
With a full pre-season under his belt, and his attacking options bolstered by summer additions Adams and Moussa Djenepo - the Mali winger an unused substitute - Saints appeared confident in possession and posed the greater threat with swift forward moves.
Adams, who had been linked with a move to Turf Moor, squandered the first sight of goal in the opening minutes as he missed the target from Yan Valery's cross.
In a lively first competitive appearance for the club, Adams also survived a potential red card after his ill-judged, yet by no means malicious, tackle on Mee.
Hasenhuttl's visitors remained the most likely to find a breakthrough in the early stages of the second half as Bertrand shot narrowly over from curling free-kick and Redmond failed to keep an attempt from the edge of the area down.
But Southampton lost their grip on the contest with Burnley's opener, their system unravelling at a concerning rate to leave the manager with lots to consider at this early stage.
"For 60 minutes it was OK. We knew it'd be a difficult game here - they play very quick, very long. The pressure after the first goal was high but for the next 12 minutes we lost the way we want to play and the game was gone," Hasenhuttl said.
"We learnt that one long ball can kill the game and I think it did. It's a bad start for us but now we have to bring our heads up and focus on the next games."
Man of the match - Ashley Barnes (Burnley)
Burnley's biggest opening win since '66 - the stats
- It is the first time since 1966 that Burnley have won their first game of a league season by a three-goal margin or greater.
- Southampton have not won their opening Premier League fixture since 2013-14.
- Eight of the nine Premier League meetings between Burnley and Southampton have been goalless at half-time, the highest percentage of any Premier League fixture to have been played at least six times.
- Ashley Barnes has scored 34 Premier League goal for Burnley, 14 more than any other player for the club.
- Barnes has scored five Premier League goals against Southampton, 15% of his total tally in the competition.
- Since the start of 2016-17, Johann Berg Gudmundsson has been directly involved in 23 Premier League goals for Burnley. That's a record bettered only by Barnes in that period.
Next week, Burnley travel to play Arsenal in Saturday's early kick-off (12:30 BST) while Southampton host Liverpool later that afternoon (15:00 BST).
- 7Berg Gudmundsson
- 11McNeilSubstituted forLennonat 84'minutes
- 10BarnesSubstituted forRodriguezat 84'minutes
- 5StephensSubstituted forHøjbjergat 73'minutes
- 9IngsSubstituted forObafemiat 66'minutes
- 10AdamsSubstituted forBoufalat 73'minutes
- 2Cédric Soares
- Graham Scott
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Burnley 3, Southampton 0.
Jan Bednarek (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Chris Wood (Burnley).
Foul by Nathan Redmond (Southampton).
James Tarkowski (Burnley) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Jan Bednarek (Southampton) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Sofiane Boufal with a headed pass following a corner.
Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Erik Pieters.
Foul by Michael Obafemi (Southampton).
Aaron Lennon (Burnley) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Burnley. Aaron Lennon replaces Dwight McNeil.
Substitution, Burnley. Jay Rodriguez replaces Ashley Barnes.
Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Nick Pope.
Attempt saved. Jannik Vestergaard (Southampton) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jan Bednarek.
Corner, Southampton. Conceded by James Tarkowski.
Attempt blocked. James Tarkowski (Burnley) header from a difficult angle on the left is blocked. Assisted by Johann Gudmundsson with a cross.
Corner, Burnley. Conceded by Pierre-Emile Højbjerg.
Attempt saved. Ashley Barnes (Burnley) left footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Dwight McNeil.
Goal! Burnley 3, Southampton 0. Johann Gudmundsson (Burnley) left footed shot from the right side of the box to the bottom left corner.