Chelsea's Mason Burstow explains Sunderland loan situation and what Michael Beale told him
and live on Freeview channel 276
Mason Burstow says he's always been focused on playing for Sunderland this season despite suggestions he could return to parent club Chelsea.
The 20-year-old striker had hardly featured for the Black Cats in recent weeks, before he was recalled to the starting XI and scored during Saturday's 3-1 win over Stoke. Burstow has been in regular contact with his loan manager at Chelsea since moving to Wearside, yet the striker says a return to Stamford Bridge in January hasn't been discussed.
When asked if there was ever a time he thought his recall clause could be activated by the Premier League club, Burstow replied: "No there wasn’t. Since I’ve come here it’s just been focused on Sunderland and working hard. This is the step for me.
"We have loan managers that work with each player so it’s my loan manager who has been working hard with me, staying in contact, keep motivating me and keeping my confidence high."
The Stoke match marked Burstow's first start since Michael Beale's appointment as Sunderland's head coach in December. Beale spoke with each player individually, and as a group, after taking charge at the Stadium of Light and challenged Burstow to win his place back.
When asked about that conversation with Beale, the striker replied: "He just made sure I kept my head held high, keep working on finishing as a number nine. Obviously we have to work on shooting, finishing from different areas, scoring goals and getting our confidence up. That’s how our conversation went and was just about getting back in the team."
With 17 Championship games remaining this season, Burstow will hope he can contribute with more goals to help Sunderland finish in the play-offs. Despite unrest at the club this month, the team have moved back up to seventh in the table, behind sixth-place Coventry on goal difference, ahead of Sunday's trip to Middlesbrough.
"A big weight off my shoulders," replied Burstow when discussing his first Sunderland goal. "Hopefully, I do kick on from now and that goal is just one of many. We have 17 games left so I will do what I can. This is my club, my team (for these 17 games) and we just have to kick on together .”