First Team

Uche thrives on pressure

14th March 2019

Uche Ikpeazu says he thrives on the pressure of leading the line at Hearts.

The big striker got back amongst the goals on Tuesday night as the Jambos booked their William Hill Scottish Cup semi final spot with a win over Partick Thistle.

He admits that he’s delighted when the ball hits the back of the net but aims to contribute even more to the overall team performance, a role that he relishes.

“I was happy to score again, I love scoring goals,” he said. “It’s frustrating when I haven’t been scoring although I’ve been getting back to my best, and I can help my teammates.

“I wanted to celebrate with the coaching staff, they encourage me to believe in myself even when I’m not scoring, so it was a relief. The medical staff have been brilliant to get me back playing too.

“I like the pressure of being the focal point, and I pressure myself too. I know I can, and should be dominating games, when I’m not playing well I’m disappointed in myself because I know my abilities and attributes.

“If the manager likes me in that role, then it just shows he appreciates my role as a key player.

“I’m not relaxed, I need to score more and work harder. I’m very ambitious, and I know the ability I’ve got, so when I’m not controlling and protecting the ball it puts pressure on my team, and they rely on me to hold the ball up so when I make mistakes I get frustrated, because I know I can do better, but I know my hard work will pay off.

“The gaffer tells me how it is, when I’m doing well he’ll tell me and the opposite, but he’s put a lot of faith in me. He expects a lot of big things from me, so I have to repay him.”