BENIK Afobe says he ran out at Burnley with Eddie Howe’s message to “think goals” ringing in his ears.

The striker scored on his first Premier League start this season but was on the losing side as Cherries were beaten 3-2 at Turf Moor.

And it was the end result occupying the former Arsenal player’s mind post-match, rather than his strike on the cusp of half-time.

Afobe told the Daily Echo: “I’d not started this season but I’ve had some chances coming off the bench. I’m a goalscorer, I’ve always been a goalscorer.

“The manager always says to me ‘think goals, think goals’ and I was thinking goals again.

“On another day, with a bit more match sharpness, I could have scored a hat-trick. I had a few chances and a disallowed goal, which I thought should have been allowed.”

Afobe’s late effort was struck off after a linesman deemed he had used his hand to control Jack Wilshere’s through ball before firing home.

Had that effort stood, Cherries would have had five minutes to pursue a leveller – rather than the seconds they had to try to force a third goal after Charlie Daniels’s stoppage-time strike.

“You hear it a lot, players saying they are happy to have scored but they would rather have the three points – and I’m no different,” said Afobe.

“That’s the honest truth. I’m a forward-thinking player but, more than anything, I’ve always been a team player.

“We wanted to win, for our mental strength and to keep climbing the table. We’re gutted to leave Burnley with nothing.”

Before he was paired up front with Callum Wilson on Saturday, Afobe’s 10 Premier League outings this term had all come as a substitute. And the 23-year-old said he had drawn inspiration from the manner in which some of his formerly-sidelined team-mates had grabbed their opportunity to play in recent weeks.

“It’s not as difficult to come into this team as it is at other clubs,” said Afobe. “We work hard here, when you’re not playing you’re running so much and trying to be ready for when you get your chance.

“You see players come into this team – Ryan Fraser last week, Nathan Ake recently – and how much they contribute. I thought to myself before the game ‘they’ve done it, so why can’t I’.”

Despite passing up a couple of opportunities to add to his goal at Burnley, Afobe claimed he would be concerned only if chances weren’t falling his way.

“As a centre-forward, if you’re not getting chances, that’s when things are going wrong,” he added. “You can miss as many chances as you want but at least you’re getting them.

“It’s about confidence, you can be scoring loads of goals in training. But when it’s 3pm on Saturday and the pressure’s on – can you score then?

"That’s what I’ve done and hopefully I can keep doing it.”