After stepping up to end Aston Villa’s 11-hour scoring drought at the weekend, Jores Okore has told the Birmingham Mail that his first strike for the club will prove the spark which helps turn around their recent poor run of form.
Okore, 22, opened his claret and blue account in the 48th-minute against Chelsea with a powerful header from Carles Gil’s cross to end a run which had seen Paul Lambert’ side go a club-record six league games without a goal.
While his effort failed to inspire a shock result, as goals either side of half-time from Eden Hazard and Branislav Ivanovic saw the visitors prevail 2-1, the Danish centre-back believes Villa can build on an encouraging performance against the league leaders to launch themselves up the table over the coming weeks.
“I was really happy to score my first goal for the club,” he said. “It is a couple of years since I last scored a goal and when you score you get a positive energy that you can use on the pitch.
“When you don’t score it can become frustrating. At least now we can forget about that and avoid any more frustration.
“That’s the really nice thing but, most importantly, we showed we can compete with Chelsea.
“We created a couple of chances and after the goal we had a couple of breaks where we had the chance to get in front.”
After the Chelsea loss, Villa have now gone nine Premier League matches without a win and sit 16th in the table, just two points above the relegation zone.
With a trip to 18th-placed Hull on Tuesday night, before a run of fixtures against Stoke, Newcastle, West Brom, Sunderland and Swansea, Paul Lambert’s side are facing a crucial period in their battle to avoid another relegation scrap.
If the likes of Okore can keep up their recent defensive performances – the Arsenal thumping aside – then the club have reason to remain optimistic about their chances of survival, but much still hinges on the likes of the misfiring Christian Benteke and new addition Scott Sincliar rediscovering their scoring boots over the final stretch of the season.