Century A Spur For Jay Rod
Striker aiming for 100th league goal and another big three points
Jay Rodriguez hopes his first league goal of the season will pave the way for more to come as he closes in on a century.
Rodriguez got off the mark for the campaign to help the Clarets to a superb 3-0 win at Crystal Palace last Saturday.
His close-range header was his first in the top-flight since his goal at Liverpool in July prevented the Reds completing a clean sweep at Anfield on their way to the title.
And it also took the striker to 99 career league goals as he bounced back from a midweek miss against Bournemouth as the Clarets went out of the FA Cup.
“It’s disappointing it’s taken that long, but things happen in football and the main thing for me is I continue to do things right and make sure I’m prepared and ready,” said Rodriguez, who is one start away from double figures in the Premier League this season.
“Hopefully now it’s changed and I can go on a run and help the team.
“You’ve always got to back yourself. We’re in professional football and if you didn’t back yourself you wouldn’t be in the position we are as players.
“For me, it’s just back down to business and carry on doing what I’m doing. You don’t get too high with the highs and too low with the lows.
“You’ve just got to keep going and keep doing what you think is right and keep working hard.
“I’ve always been taught that from a young age and I think it’s helped me so far, so I’ll continue to so that.”
Rodriguez’s approach certainly hasn’t gone far wrong with the 31-year-old closing in on a major landmark, having scored his first league goal during a loan spell from Burnley at Scottish First Division side Stirling Albion 13 years ago next month.
Since then he has added two more for Stirling, one on loan at Barnsley, 26 for Southampton, 29 for West Bromwich Albion and 40 across his two spells with his hometown club to put himself on the brink of reaching the 100-goal milestone.
“It would mean a lot. I was happy just to get one when I started out, so to be striving for 100 is something I’m very proud of,” Rodriguez added.
“If you had said to me at the start of my career I would be trying to go for 100 career league goals at Burnley Football Club in the Premier League I would have snapped your hand off straight away and probably wouldn’t have believed you.
“To do that at this stage of my career is something to be proud of but I want to go past that and continue to score goals.
“It would be great to do it on Wednesday – or whenever it’s possible.
“If I do get a chance and put it away to get 100 goals is a great motivation, but the main thing at the moment is to secure the three points.”
Wednesday evening’s visit of Fulham provides Rodriguez with the next opportunity to reach three figures as he looks to add to the two goals he scored in an outstanding performance to knock the Cottagers out of the FA Cup last month.
A repeat result – albeit between two very different line-ups – would take the Clarets another major steps towards guaranteeing Premier League safety by re-opening an 11-point gap above 18th-placed Fulham and the bottom three.
But the Londoners have also hit form as they matched Burnley’s weekend win with an impressive 2-0 victory at Everton to make it just one defeat in their last five league games.
And it’s performance rather than permutations which is Rodriguez’s concern as Sean Dyche’s men seek to build on an impressive run of just two defeats in eight home league games and potentially move as high as 14th place in the table.
“Nothing is given in football and nothing is given in the Premier League. Every team is here for a reason," said Rodriguez, whose goal tally across all competitions stands at 127.
“We’ve got a tough side to beat in Fulham. Regardless of the table and how it is, we’ve got to look after what’s in front of us.
“We believe we’re in good form and we’ve got to continue that by putting in a good performance.
“We don’t think too much in terms of ‘what might bes’. We’ve got to focus on us and it’s just another opportunity to show what we can do.
“We’ve got to look after ourselves and keep our momentum going.”
Wed, Mar 3, 2021