CHARLIE Austin has credited Sean Dyche for making him a more aggressive striker.
The Clarets’ 24-goal top scorer had already reached 18 – chiefly through a run of at least one goal in eight consecutive games – before Dyche was appointed as Eddie Howe’s successor in late October.
Injury has curtailed his goal trail.
But Austin is back at a good time.
He marked his comeback from a hamstring injury straight with a goal inside the opening minute at Peterborough.
Now, with 15 games to go and the play-offs still within reach ahead of tonight’s visit of Middlesbrough, a fit-again Austin believes Dyche’s influence has made him even more dynamic, and a greater threat to Championship defences.
“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,” said the 23-year-old, who is looking to light up Turf Moor tonight.
“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 added: “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.”
Under new management, Austin feels his all-round game, and style, has gone onto another level.
While goals are still his aim, he feels there his more to him than an impressive strikerate.
“I’m leaner and I’m moving a lot more. I feel everything’s coming together now,” said the former Swindon hotshot.
“It was before I got injured so I just need to get that back. Being a goalscorer all you want to is score.
“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.”
Dyche is pleased with Austin’s response to the demands being made of him, and insisted it doesn’t stop there.
“It’s interesting how the players reflect on it. Some of it is what I think are the natural demands of being a footballer.
“Maybe that’s new to them. We’re trying to get more – we want more from all of them,” said the Burnley boss.
“There are some big sayings, like ‘If you always do what you’ve always done you’ll always get what you’ve always got’.
“You have got to break that thinking.
“It’s about challenging yourself as an individual. We set the challenges, of course, and the demands.
“But an internal challenge is the one really that you’re looking for footballers to really break through on.
“Once you get that feeling among the group that builds to and adds to individual performances, group performances and builds momentum.
“It’s getting each individual to understand that if they give more they’ll get more.
“That’s what it amounts to really, that forward-thinking motion.
“As I say all the time, we go towards winning, and that’s what we focus on.”