A landmark goal from David Nugent and a first on home turf for summer signing Jamie Vardy gave the Foxes a third straight victory on their own patch, as Nigel Pearson’s men recovered from the setback of Dean Marney’s first-half opener.
Frustrated during a first period which saw Eddie Howe’s well-organised Clarets defend diligently and break dangerously, Pearson’s men emerged with fresh ideas at the break, with young debutant Anthony Knockaert the catalyst for their improvement.
Nugent’s 100th career goal two minutes after the interval set the ball rolling before Frenchman Knockaert, a roaming menace throughout, threaded Vardy through for a deflected second 10 minutes later.
And while Kasper Schmeichel was forced into an excellent late save to deny Clarets substitute Sam Vokes, City were good value for a win that lifted them into the Championship’s top 10 after six games.
Pearson’s men, showing three changes from the weekend, may have been relieved to get back in front of their home supporters after another fruitless away trip at Wolves on Sunday.
But they were stopped in their tracks after just 10 minutes as Burnley carved a way through their defences with their first decent attack.
Full-back Kieran Trippier fed Martin Paterson in the inside-right channel and the Ulsterman’s low cut-back was drilled in powerfully by the arriving Marney.
The former Tottenham midfielder had another decent effort pushed away by Schmeichel during a first half which saw City struggle to penetrate Burnley’s defensive lines. Forced to work at it from distance, Ben Marshall and Knockaert both drew saves from Lee Grant, before Nugent clipped the top of the crossbar after being set up by Vardy.
But they regrouped at the break, with Pearson making a formational switch that released the talented Knockaert to do more damage from central areas.
That said, the tactical change could take little credit for City’s equaliser. Marshall surprised everyone with a speculative long throw from the left and Burnley’s defence criminally allowed it to bounce inside the box.
Vardy sensed an opening and backed into Jason Shackell just enough to nod down and Nugent scuffed in on the volley.
Now the visitors were struggling, as Knockaert ran off Matty James and Danny Drinkwater to pick up the ball in between the lines.
Vardy set his sights from Marshall’s pass and was denied by Grant, but his next advance was more rewarding.
They say forwards sometimes need a break to get up and running and Vardy got one as he swung gainfully at Knockaert’s short pass from a tight angle. A deflection of Shackell betrayed Grant horribly and the ball bounced just inside the post off the underside of the bar.
Marshall swung a free-kick just over the bar before Burnley began to knock at the door, forcing City back from positions from which they could break.
Drinkwater nearly did just that on 74 minutes, sprinting up-field to support an isolated Nugent before his lifted shot was pawed away by Grant.
Chances to put the game to bed came and went, with Knockaert, Lloyd Dyer and fellow sub Martyn Waghorn all unable to find the net.
And the hosts were nearly made to pay for their profligacy as Shackell crashed a late effort against the outside of the post from close-range, before Schmeichel’s heroics kept Vokes at bay in a one-v-one.
But the win was a deserved one and the Foxes return to King Power Stadium on Sunday looking to make it four home wins on the bounce against in-form Hull City.
City (4-4-2): Schmeichel; De Laet, Morgan (c), St. Ledger, Konchesky; Knockaert, Drinkwater, James, Marshall (Dyer 75); Nugent (Futacs 89), Vardy (Waghorn 75).
Unused subs: Whitbread, Danns, Logan, Beckford.
Goals: Nugent 47, Vardy 57.
Booked: Nugent, Knockaert, De Laet.
Burnley (4-3-3): Grant; Trippier, Edgar, Shackell (c), Mills (Wallace 75); Marney, Stock (Mee 61), McCann; Stanislas, Paterson (Vokes 61), Stewart.
Unused subs: Jensen, O’Neill, Bartley, Hewitt.
Goals: Marney 10
Attendance: 18,480 (323 away)
Referee: Dean Whitestone (Northamptonshire)