clarets striker Charlie Austin feels manager Sean Dyche has added “more spice” to his game.
The 24-goal top-scorer believes his all-round game has improved since the arrival of Dyche at the end of October, and while his prolific strikerate has not matched the ferocious pace of his early-season form, he believes he is contributing more to the team.
As Austin prepares to face Middlesbrough at Turf Moor tonight - having scored the opener in a 3-2 defeat at Boro back in August - Austin hailed the impact of Dyche on his own game: “I feel fitter.
“I’m covering a bit more ground, and my all-round game has come on.
“Every manager I’ve worked with has added a little bit.
“Eddie Howe was great for me from the start of my career to when he left - he did everything possible to put me in that position.
“The manager’s come in now and given me that little bit more spice to my game and it’s really helped me, as a person in and around the club as well and away from the club.
“He’s added a little bit more aggression to my game.
“I wanted it when Eddie Howe was manager - I wanted to win everything.
“Now I just want it a little bit more.
“The manager challenges me.
“He sets out what he wants.
“It’s different to what Eddie Howe wanted. Don’t get me wrong, they both wanted to win, but in a different way.”
Austin feels he is a more physical proposition for defenders now, and added: “I’m leaner and I’m moving a lot more. I just feel everything’s coming together now.
“It was before I got injured anyway, so I just need to get that back.”
He sat out the entirety of January with a hamstring strain, but has returned for the last two games, netting within a minute of his return at Peterborough.
And he is desperate to get back up to speed and continue rattling in the goals: “I don’t think I wanted to recharge my batteries if I’m honest. I’m one of those players who needs to play and train to keep my fitness levels at the top.
“Some people need two or three days’ rest after a game, but for me I need to train and need to do it at a tempo all the time to be on top of my game and be how I am.
“I wanted to get back.
“It was nice to come back and score, and get 90 minutes under my belt at Bolton, but I know I need to get back to the form I showed just before I was injured.
“It would be nice to get my goalscoring rate back from September and October.”
While that would be some feat - Austin was the top-scorer in Europe at that time, outscoring the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Radomel Falcao, he wants to bring more to the table: “Being a goalscorer all you want to is score goals.
“But you know as much as you’re scoring goals you’ve got to help your team-mates out.
“As much as your wide men and fullbacks are working to score goals you’ve got to help them in other aspects of your game.
“If you don’t score you look at your overall game. If you don’t score and you’ve not been on it, you feel like you’ve let your team down.”