Andros Townsend admitted he had his mum to thank for his wondergoal and is relishing the tough love from Rafa Benitez since joining Everton.
Three goals in seven electrifying minutes gave Everton a 3-1 win over Burnley at Goodison Park to continue their unbeaten start to the Premier League season with Townsend scoring a memorable first goal for the club.
Michael Keane levelled from a Townsend cross, before Townsend himself curled home a stunner from 30 yards into the top corner. It was just his second goal in his last 56 Premier League appearances after a quiet period playing for Roy Hodgson at Crystal Palace.
“I have to give a shout out to my mum,” Townsend told Sky Sports.
“During the week she sent me a compilation video of all my goals and told me to believe in myself again. You can see that with the goal, rolling the back years. I’ve got it in my locker, I just need to produce it on a more consistent basis. Hopefully with the manager here I can keep getting into the right positions and score more and assist more for this historic football club.”
Townsend became Everton’s first signing of the Benitez era with the winger having previously played under the Spaniard at Newcastle. After a period of heavy spending at Everton, this summer saw a change in their recruitment with the likes of Townsend and Demarai Gray, who has scored three goals already this season, being signed for small fees.
“He wants it all – he doesn’t let us sit on our laurels,” Townsend said of Benitez.
“Demarai has had a great start but the manager is still pushing him to make runs in behind and be more clinical, can you have a reaction when you lose the ball. He was exactly the same after the game – he didn’t congratulate me on the goal. I don’t really know what he said but he said something about playing too wide or wasn’t making enough runs in behind. That’s what he’s like. He doesn’t praise you. He is always looking to improve you and that’s what I love in a manager. I’m enjoying linking up with him.
“During the last five years at Crystal Palace, Roy Hodgson worked tirelessly with me to make me a more dependable in a defensive sense but now I’ve come here Rafa Benitez isn’t concerned about what I do defensively. He wants me to be clinical in the final third with goals and assists.”
What the pundit said: Nev makes Mahrez comparison..
Sky Sports’ Gary Neville:
“If you remember the impact Townsend had for England. He’s always been someone who can cut in on that left foot. You think of what Riyad Mahrez does, he’s got that type of ability to produce wicked shots. It’s all about consistency, though. Now he’s at Everton, Benitez will give him confidence to play. Let’s hope this is a really great period of his career because he is a good lad.”
Benitez: Players are giving everything
Benitez, a former Liverpool manager, has taken 10 points from his opening four games and once again played down the reaction to his appointment.
He told Sky Sports: “I think it was less than people think, the fans were fine. Just the social media was creating the idea of noise. But around where I live, the city when I came here, the reception of the fans was great. I think what the fans want is a team that gives everything and they can see that every day.
“The players of last year maybe they were not performing at the level, now they are giving everything and the fans appreciate that.
“I think that’s just the way to move forward. What I told the players in the dressing room is we have done nothing yet. We are at the beginning, we have to improve so many things but we are really pleased because everybody is trying to do their best.”
Meanwhile, Burnley boss Sean Dyche was disappointed with Burnley’s reaction to conceding the first goal.
He told Sky Sports: “We let them creep into the game and then a mad six minutes follow. You have to make things happen. I think it is a really good away performance until they score. We were waiting for it to happen.
“My big feeling is we are way wiser than that six minutes. That is something we have to learn from. The crowd were almost jeering at times, they were on the edge. I am very frustrated with that period.
“My personal view is the game is in a good place. I think the game is getting back to a good state with good physicality.”