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‘Meaner’ Benteke explains 'more selfish' approach behind goals

17 March 2021

“Anything can happen with football,” says Christian Benteke. “And that is the beauty of it.

“We know that, with the fast approach to the end of the season, it gets harder to score points as people are fighting for relegation, for the Champions League, for different reasons of competition.”

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Benteke agrees with the idea that Crystal Palace’s strength comes partly from the pressure of Premier League survival, but he adds: “With our squad, we don’t really have to worry about relegation, but rather reaching the highest spot possible for us as a team because I think that we have the quality.

“I will say that, when you have suffered a lot of defeats, obviously you look a little bit behind but now, with the results that we’ve got, now we can look again to reaching [towards] the top of the league table.”

When asked what scoring the second goal meant to him against Brighton, Benteke expressed that “it meant a lot.”

He continued, saying: “We know that it was a big game for all of us, for the fans, for the club, and to be able to score that winning point for the team is a really good feeling. When I finish my football career, it is something that I will be happy with, to have something like that as an achievement. It will be very nice.”

Having scored five goals this season (an improvement at this stage on the past three campaigns), Benteke says: “I am more selfish in what I want to achieve, being meaner to myself and constantly trying to better my capabilities. I try to be in the right place at the right time.

“As a striker, you need to play week in, week out. It is hard when you play one or two games then get put on the bench and then come back, as it is difficult to find your rhythm. To do that, I think you need to perform and make the task difficult for the manager.”

Competition from teammates like Jean-Philippe Mateta would motivate most players to strive for improvement. But Benteke explains that places in the Palace XI have always been fought for.

“[There is] competition with Jordan [Ayew] and Wilf [Zaha], so with Mateta being a new addition, it doesn’t change the way in which I challenge myself every game, every training session.

“It is something good as it gives me many options but at the same time you have to perform to maintain a stable place.”

Benteke ends his time by commending his teammates and expressing high hopes for the Eagles, saying: “I think [our aim is] to finish as high as we can because we’ve got the talent, we’ve got the group, we’ve got the experience and we’ve got the players.

“So now, it is up to us. [Personally,] I want us to finish strong and to try to do my best, possibly go to the Euros with the Belgium team.”

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