Nerveless Andre spot on to beat Blackburn
Striker Andre Gray had no qualms about taking the pressure penalty that created derby history for Burnley against rivals Blackburn Rovers.
The Championship’s top-scorer netted his 21st goal of the season from the spot to earn a 1-0 victory against Rovers - the Clarets’ first over the old enemy at Turf Moor since 1978, sealing a first double over Blackburn in 37 years.
Gray had missed his last penalty in the goal-less draw at Reading last month, but, even in front of a sold out away end, he showed nerves of steel to calmly send Jason Steele the wrong way, and, asked if it was a nervy penalty, he said: “No. It’s a penalty, you miss some, you have some saved. The best in the world miss them.
“It was important to just stay confident and have the determination to get up and take one again and be confident in doing it, and I did that.
“There’s probably more pressure in the home end if anything because the fans want you to score and you’re facing them.
“There’s no pressure. You have to have tunnel vision in penalties and it’s you against the keeper.
“It’s a bit of mind games as well, but you need to make your mind up and stick with it. If he saves it, he saves it.
“That’s how football works sometimes. Obviously that happened against Reading but we’ve moved on.”
Middlesbrough had taken over at the top after beating Wolves on Friday night, so was there added pressure on Burnley to beat Blackburn?: “It’s hard to say. I think it’s down to us. When you’re in the top two or top of the league it’s down to you.
“As you can see, the pressure is on everyone. People are going to make slip-ups but we hope we aren’t one of them.”
Boro and Hull City have a game in hand, but Burnley have points in the bag, which Gray prefers to have: “I’ve been in that situation before when I was at Luton when we had four or five games in hand and if we win we go eight points clear, and we didn’t win one.
“Personally, I prefer to have points on the board and put pressure on the other teams. There’s a long way to go. We haven’t done it yet.”
Burnley’s destiny is in their own hands with 11 games remaining, starting tonight at Fulham, and Gray added: “It always has been. It’s down to everyone. We need to keep winning games and not slip up.
“We’ve still got to play Brighton and Middlesbrough and they’re two tough games.
“But there are tougher games than that. We’ve still got to play the likes of Preston and Birmingham away. It’s not going to get any easier but we just need to take every game as it comes and concentrate on Fulham and not the ones after that. It’s not getting any easier. It’s getting harder.
“Fulham are a quality team with quality players so it’s going to be another difficult game.”