Andros Townsend saluted the key factors behind his stunning first goal in an Everton shirt – Rafa Benitez, Blues fans… and his mum.
The summer signing got off the mark for the Club in breath-taking style, rifling a thunderous 25-yard drive into the top-left hand corner to inspire the Blues to a 3-1 come-from-behind victory over Burnley at Goodison.
Five minutes before Townsend’s cracker, the forward’s pinpoint cross teed up Michael Keane to head home the hosts’ leveller on the hour mark, after Burnley had taken the lead moments earlier through Ben Mee.
A manic opening to the second half was then completed just a minute after Townsend had got Goodison rocking when fellow new-boy Demarai Gray raced on to Abdoulaye Doucoure’s sumptuous through ball to grab his third goal in as many Premier League games.
The victory extends Everton’s unbeaten start under Benitez to five matches in all competitions and moved them to fourth in the Premier League table.
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HIGHLIGHTS: EVERTON 3-1 BURNLEY
After reuniting this summer with Benitez, the manager Townsend spent a short but productive spell with at Newcastle United in 2016, the 30-year-old revealed how he has been challenged by the Spaniard to bring more goals and assists to his game.
And as well as thanking Evertonians for their vocal backing after the break, Townsend also had some words of gratitude to his mum for pre-match motivation.
“I have to give a shout out to my mum here,” he said. “During the week she sent me a compilation video of all my goals, clipped them all together, told me I need to believe in myself again and I think you saw that with the goal tonight.
“I’ve got that in the locker, I just need to be able to produce it on a more consistent basis and hopefully, with the manager, I can keep getting more assists and goals for this historic football club.
“I’ve been working tirelessly on that side of the game. Now I’ve come here Rafa Benitez has said he’s not concerned about what I do defensively. He wants me to be clinical in the final third with goals and assists. I’ve started well and I just have to continue working hard for this football club.”
Townsend added: “[The atmosphere in the second half] was incredible. Goodison Park under the lights – I’ve been here many times before as an opposing player. It’s an incredible place and thankfully tonight we got the crowd going in the second half. We’re going to need them this season if we are going to achieve our goals.
“[The manager] wants everything! He doesn’t let us rest on our laurels.
“Demarai’s had a great start but the manager still pushed him: ‘Can you make more runs in behind? Can you be more clinical? Can you react when you lost the ball?’ And he was the same with me after the game tonight.
“He’s always looking to improve you as a player and I’ve said many times before, that’s what I love in a manager. I’m enjoying linking up with him again.”