Cédric Bakambu has won the affection of the fans for his goals this season. The French-Congolese striker, who is the top goal scorer for the Submarine this season, has netted 20 goals in all competitions (12 in the league, 7 in the UEFA Europa League and 1 in the Copa del Rey) and has become a key player in Marcelino’s side. In the last match against Getafe at El Madrigal, the crowd sang his name in unison after he scored the decisive second to make it 2-0. And not for no reason.
With his 20 goals, Bakambu has equalled Luciano Vietto’s record in his first season dressed in Yellow (12 in the league and 8 in the UEFA Europa League) and there are still matches left to play in the First Division. The Yellow number 17 wants more. His next challenge will be to beat the 25 goals scored by Diego Forlán in his first season at the Submarine (all in the league, 2004/05).
Cédric Bakambu prefers not to set goals and just take it game by game: “I don’t set myself a target for goals. I’m enjoying the moment because I’m playing in such a great team. I just want to take it bit by bit. I know where I come from. Last year I was playing in Turkey and I’m appreciating every moment here. I’m just trying to contribute what I can to the team. Without my teammates I’m no one”.
According to the striker, he has adapted really well to the team: “I didn’t think I’d adapt so quickly. What I’ve achieved is thanks to the help of my teammates. We’re a close group and it’s also helped that my style of play has fit in well with how the team plays”. The Yellows’ forward has words of praise for his teammate Roberto Soldado: “I always thank Roberto when I score. I never thought I’d play with a player of his calibre. I learn from him everyday”.
Bakambu also wanted to thank Marcelino for the confidence he has shown in him: “We have a great manager. He’s demanding and knows how to get the best out of every one of us. He’s helped us to improve considerably. I have scored a lot of goals here recently and for the Congo too. It’s the first time that I’ve been on such a good scoring streak. I hope to keep going like this and make the most of this good time for me”.
Villarreal is fourth in LaLiga and is still alive in the UEFA Europa League. In spite of this, Bakambu doesn’t want to celebrate just yet: “We haven’t achieved anything yet. We are going to keep taking it match by match to try to meet the goals we’ve set for ourselves”.
In light of Thursday’s match in the Letná stadium (9:05pm CET), Bakambu thinks they should go for the win despite winning the first leg 2-1 against AC Sparta Prague: “The most important thing was to win and get the advantage going into the second leg. I don’t think it would have been easy to have won 4-0. We are going to go to win and take us through to the next round. We know it’s not going to be easy. The aim is to score a goal because that will give us a great chance of getting through”.