El Bakhtaoui out to repay Dundee gaffer’s faith with goals after already beating last season’s tally

Dundee forward Faissal El Bakhtaoui scored his fourth goal of the season last weekend at Kilmarnock — something he’s eager to repeat as often as possible this campaign.

He’s already topped last season’s goal tally but, thankfully for Dundee, Faissal El Bakhtaoui isn’t finished as he aims to repay his manager’s faith.

This campaign is a big one for the Dark Blues striker with much of the onus having fallen on him at the start of the season to provide the side a cutting edge up top.

Last weekend’s opener at Kilmarnock was only his second league strike of the campaign but El Bakhtaoui has revealed to the Tele that boss Neil McCann has been giving him plenty of encouragement.

When asked, though, he wasn’t keen to reveal any sort of goal target he might have in his second season at the club.

He said: “No, I don’t have any goals target — I just want to work hard for the team and then we’ll see.

“I’ve got four already this season after getting three last and I’m just looking to get as many goals as I can this season.

“I know it’s going to be hard.

“It’s different to last year — I was more on the bench than starting and this year the manager has shown confidence in me to play.

“I hope to repay that by scoring more.

“The manager has said to me that it doesn’t matter if I don’t score to begin with, keep working hard for the team and the goals will come for you.

“I feel good at the moment. I got my goal last week and the manager has just given me the confidence to play and show what I can do.

“So, I just need to work hard and listen to the gaffer.”

With injury problems to main strikers Sofien Moussa and Marcus Haber adding to the absence of Craig Wighton, El Bakhtaoui has had a good run in the side of late.

New boy A-Jay Leitch-Smith has also come in since signing on deadline day and has led the line in the past two games but with the shooting ability at his disposal, El Bakhtaoui has it in himself to become Dundee’s main man.

What he has noticed from a team point of view lately is the amount of chances created — something the former Dunfermline man points to as a sign that the Dark Blues will start to move up the Premiership table.

“From the first game of the season, we’ve been creating chances,” he added.

“It’s just not happened for us but I think it will come good because I know we have a team that’s good enough to pick up points.

“This is a massive game for us at home to Hearts.

“We know they are a good team but we have a good squad and good players ourselves to get the three points.

“Hearts are physical and have some good players as well.

“Our focus, though, is only on our team and I think it’ll be a good game.”

In the past two league games, Dundee have picked up four points from six — El Bakhtaoui, however, insists it should have been six from six after the 1-1 divide at Rugby Park.

“Against Kilmarnock I think we should have won the game but it didn’t happen, so winning points in a big game against Hearts at home before the break is the aim.

“We had two big games in a week after the Celtic match where we worked really hard and the boys were feeling the legs but even so I still think we should have won against Kilmarnock.

“Today, though, is a home game and our home form is massive for us.

“We have a decent record at home this season and won our last league game at Dens so it would be good to show the fans we can go from there and get another three points .”