CLARETS leading scorer Charlie Austin has hailed his weekend wonder strike as one of the best and most important goals of his career.
With the Clarets on a six-game winless run, including three successive games without finding the net, and Austin hitting an eight-hour ‘drought’, the 23-year-old hitman was delighted to provide the breakthrough that helped arrest recent form.
Austin’s 25th of the season, making him the fifth most potent striker in England in all competitions, alongside Manchester United’s Robin Van Persie, arrived in the 43rd minute at the Valley when he collected Danny Lafferty’s pass before rifling a spectacular 25-yard drive into the top corner, leaving David Button with no chance of saving.
“It’s the best this season and I’d say one of the best in my career to be honest,” beamed Austin. “I don’t score many outside the box.
“I needed it on a personal note, but it was important for the lads and we got the win. The three points was massive.
“I’m a confident lad. I was a long way out but I thought, I’m just going to hit this and it opened up nicely. Luckily enough the next minute it was in the top corner.
“It’s the most I’ve scored in a season and hopefully I can push on and score many more to the end of the season. As long as I keep scoring it helps the lads and we can win.
“The bonus for me is it’s happened and I was happy to score, but obviously it’s all about the team and we got the three points and it was what we needed.”
Austin, only in his fourth season as a professional, his second full campaign in the Championship, admits to have never felt the pressure during his dry spell, but now he’s even more determined to kick on and challenge Glenn Murray and Jordan Rhodes to become the division’s top scorer.
“As a striker you try to score as many times as you can,” he said. “If you go through a so-called drought, you go on one.
“I came back from injury, I scored straight away then didn’t score for a couple.
“But as a striker I always give myself the maximum opportunity.
“I’ll take a four-game drought and score one like that!”
Austin added: “I’d say I’ve surprised myself, definitely. I had a good run at the start. It stopped but hopefully now I’m just kicking on and I can push on till the end of the season.
“If I keep scoring it helps the team, and that’s the main thing.
“As a striker you hope to score as many goals as you can, but overall performance is the main thing and helping the team and pleasing the manager, and obviously I was doing that for him to keep selecting me.”
Despite lauding the character and performance of his team-mate’s in victory over Chris Powell’s Addicks in the country’s capital, Austin has dispelled talk of achieving a play-off place.
“We put in a good performance in the first half and our backs were against the wall in the second half but we defended really well,” he said.
“The second half we really showed what we can do defensively because it was backs to the wall.
“We defended really well with Shacks, Kevin, Tripps and Laffers – the whole team really was together in that.
“We all came together at the end. We knew we had to defend and it was a big result. Hopefully the pressure’s off us and now we can string a few results together.”
The next task for the Clarets is to register back-to-back wins when Barnsley are the visitors to Turf Moor tonight, kick-off 7-45 p.m. Austin is hoping the Clarets can extinguish memories of the performance against the Terriers, by picking up three points against the Tykes.
“Barnsley’s not going to be an easy game but we under-performed last Tuesday against Huddersfield and we know we’ve got to put that right.
“We did on Saturday and hopefully we can again.”