Martin Laursen has revealed his knack of scoring goals this season was born out of encouragement from the managers in his life.
Both Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill and Morten Olsen, who runs the Denmark national side, had been urging the central defender for some time to add goals to his game for some time.
The 30-year-old has finally answered their call this season and even surpassed it by finding the net no fewer than six times so far. His goal tally has made him Villa's second-best striker in terms of goals so far this season, level on goals with John Carew and just one strike behind Gabriel Agbonlahor. The impressive goal tally for a centre-half has also lifted Villa to sixth place in the Premier League, level on points with fourth-placed Liverpool, although the Reds have a game in hand.
Laursen, who is due to open talks with O'Neill tomorrow in a bid to extend his current Villa contract beyond the end of the season, said: "I'm really pleased with my goals. It is a thing that my manager here and my national team manager have talked to me about.
''They said is a thing I have not done well enough in the past in my career. I haven't scored enough goals. I have thought about it and it is a fact.''
Laursen added: "When you want to improve something and you can see an improvement and a result, it gives you massive satisfaction. Six is the most goals I have scored in a season. I've not set any targets to get into double figures but I would love that and I would love to help get Villa into Europe, but let's take each game at a time.
''We are playing well now and everything is moving in the right direction but still let's not get carried away. I think it is important just to take a game at a time and then we will see where we are going.''
Laursen, who joined Villa in 2004 from AC Milan, said he had made it clear he was more than happy at Villa and not looking to leave, unlike his close friend and defensive partner Olof Mellberg. He added: "There is going to be a meeting this week and we will see what that will bring. I didn't hear the fans chanting for me [during the 3-1 win over Reading on Saturday] to be signed up, but it is not a secret that I like it here. I would like to stay at Villa and I am settled off the pitch as well.
''I enjoy playing here and I have a good relationship with the manager and everyone around the club. We have a very good team and I would like to stay. Hopefully, we can find some kind of agreement this week. I have an agent who will take care of all the contract talks and any talks about the length of any deal. I just want to concentrate on my football. Obviously we have had a meeting about what we think is reasonable, what we should have, what I should have. I will leave all that talk to the club and to my agent.''
Once his contract issue is resolved, Laursen hopes to continue his quest to help Villa secure European football this season. He said: "Hopefully, we are better equipped to pursue European qualification this year. I think we have a very good team, some real talent for Europe and Uefa Cup action. ''We are playing some good attacking football and you always feel we will score a goal. If we manage to stay solid at the back, I think we have a fair chance.''