Honest Claret Ings determined to hit the net
DANNY Ings has scored 24 goals this season – 19 of them in the Championship, making him the division’s second joint top scorer.
Before last Saturday’s visit of Nottingham Forest, he had not gone more than two games all season without getting on the scoresheet.
But ask the 21-year-old what he thinks about his impressive haul, and the answer might not be what you would expect.
“Not enough,” he said, putting it bluntly.
He feels his run of a goal every three games should be ongoing, given the number of chances that presented themselves against Forest.
Unlike previous seasons – and even earlier this season – the striker has learned not to get bogged down in the disappointment.
“I’ve hard to work hard mentally on not putting too much pressure on myself,” he said.
“Even in training I put too much pressure on myself sometimes when things don’t go my way.
“Maybe in the past I’ve not dealt with things not going too smoothly.
“I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because of my injuries and what-not. I’m not sure.”
Ings felt he had lost time to make up for after twice enduring lengthy lay-offs with knee problems which required surgery – the first in only his second training session after making the move from Bournemouth, aged just 19.
He has come out of those experiences stronger, and under Sean Dyche is fulfilling the potential that encouraged Eddie Howe to make him one of his first signings in his first summer as Clarets boss.
Circumstances meant Howe never saw the best of him at Burnley.
But as Ings goes into this afternoon’s crucial table-topping clash with Derby County aiming to enhance his side’s automatic promotion prospects, he has credited Dyche for helping him to develop both physically and mentally in football.
“I’ve been working on my frustration – to not overthink things and keep playing with a smile on my face because that’s when you’re more likely to be a threat to your opponents,” he said.
“But it’s something I’ve worked on and the gaffer’s worked on with me and I’m better for it now.
“He doesn’t complicate things. It’s all very simple – you work hard, you get your rewards for it.
“All the lads buy into it and we go out in training every day like it’s a Saturday and we’re playing against each other.
“There are no bad tackles or anything like that but everything’s 100 miles an hour – it’s fantastic and a great standard and I think that’s why we’ve been successful so far.”
But for Ings, temperament is just as important as tempo.
“I think the more desperate you are to get a goal the less likely you are to score. You’ve got to stay relaxed and composed and thankfully I’ve done that quite a few times this season,” said the striker, for whom weekly yoga sessions at Gawthorpe have helped to focus body as much as mind.
“As long as the team does well and wins I’m happy.
“If you overthink things too much it’s all negative in your head after the game.
“After Saturday I could have gone and thought ‘why didn’t I score that?’ but you look at the bigger picture and you think ‘we got three points.
“I had opportunities to score, but the big man (Sam Vokes) got a brace and we got the win. It was a great result and I was very happy.
“We put in a really good performance - one of the best performances all season - and it’s very positive.
“All I can do is look to the next game and I know I’ll get chances and hopefully I’ll put them away.”
He added: “If Sam scores I don’t see it as ‘it’s my turn next’.
“If either one of us scores and we win then happy days.
“I’d be worried if neither of us score and we don’t win. That will be the day when I think about it too much.
“I’m just happy when either of us score and we get three points.”
Ings knows what three points would mean to Burnley, but through manager Dyche’s influence he, and his team-mates, have learnt to focus on the present rather than the past or the future.
“We see it as any other game.
“They’ve gained some momentum and confidence and they’ve done very well so fair play to them. But it’s all about us, we don’t want to talk about them. It’s about what we do and if we’re on our game I’m sure we’ll win.
“But as a group there’s no point in putting pressure on ourselves because it can only have a negative effect. It’s important that we stay relaxed and take it a step at a time. Who knows where it will take us.”
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