Huddersfield Town midfielder Tom Ince has described his relief at netting his first goal for The Terriers after 19 attempts, in the hosts' 1-1 draw with Stoke City on Boxing Day.
Sitting 11th in the League with 22 points, David Wagner’s men hosted the inconsistent Potters on on Tuesday, who were three points and two places below them.
Ince got his first top-flight goal in four seasons after 10 minutes, after having the most shots in the Premier League this season, but no end- product.
However, Mark Hughes’ men stepped up in the second half, and a Ramadan Sobhi equaliser left the result at 1-1, despite the many chances that both teams had, but just couldn’t take advantage of.
Ince "relieved'" to finally hit the back of the net
When asked if he was relieved to score, Ince told HTTV: "Yeah, I was. It’s been a long time coming for me. I’ve managed to put the graft in, put the work in, and the ball just doesn’t hit the net for me.
"It was one of the closer ones where I felt; if I miss this then I’m never going to score. Luckily it went in.”
“It was that looming cloud over me, but now that’s gone I’ve just got to concentrate on trying to perform for this team, trying to pick up points. I never lost belief in my ability to score goals, I always know that I can.
"It's now just about using that confidence and that goal today to really perform and try and score more goals for this team.”
Mentally, the lack of goals so far this season must have been tough for Ince, but the interviewer commented that he kept getting in the right places and creating opportunities for himself:
“Yeah I think you have to. If you don’t shoot you don’t score. If I’d have stopped shooting or stopped having the aggression with a positive mentality to keep shooting and getting myself in goal scoring positions, then today wouldn’t have happened.”
On today’s goal: “It was one that Colin [Quaner] did ever so well down the right-hand side, and I thought: gamble in the box and it might fall to me, and luckily for me it did, and I managed to put it away.
"I think there has been a lot of times this season where I need to make sure that when I do get opportunities that I’m a lot more, not clinical, but trying to make the keeper work and try and get in better goal scoring positions.”
'It's difficult playing in a different position'
“It’s difficult for me playing in a different position than what I’m used to. The last few games its been more of an out -and- out- sort of striker. It’s a little bit different, but it’s one that I’m learning and one that I’m enjoying.
I’ve got to just keep working hard for this team, and goals are a bonus for me, and if they can help the team, then great.”
When asked about how he’s finding this new role: “You find yourself obviously a lot more down the middle of the pitch, which obviously today was quite a tight area, with three out and out midfield players playing in there.
Its always difficult. Stoke had a good win last week – they came here to try and take a point. You can see by the way they played – they played for set pieces, which is their strength.”
“Its difficult for us to have that free flowing at times, but I thought we managed the game well. We tried to take it to Stoke. I just think that final decisions towards the final third of the pitch just weren’t falling to us.”
“We move on”
“It’s a point on the board. Another home game on Saturday, and we move on.”
When asked if the team is disappointed at not getting the three points: “Yeah of course. When we played like we did today – we were always the team on the front foot, trying to break them down and create chances – its always difficult when you come away and you feel like we’ve given it everything and weren’t able to get the three points.”
The team have "confidence" going into Saturday
“Stoke are a side where they are effective at what they do. They’ve picked up the last couple of weeks.
"Of course, at home on Boxing Day you want to have the three points, but each point is something to build on and to take, and now we move on to Saturday which is another tough one at home to Burnley.”
“It is one that we’re in confidence. We’re unbeaten, even though it’s a draw, you still move on and it goes in the right direction, and we have to look forward to Saturday now.”