Santa Cruz targets 20-goal mark and Europe

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The Independent Football

Blackburn Rovers' Roque Santa Cruz believes he can break the 20-goal barrier in next season's Premier League. The Paraguay international has struck 11 times in the league and 15 in all competitions since arriving from Bayern Munich last summer.

These goals have helped to keep Rovers on course for European qualification, but the 26-year-old hopes to increase productivity in the same way Didier Drogba did at Chelsea.

Drogba reached the 20-goal mark in his third full season at Stamford Bridge, after initially struggling to replicate his excellent goals per game ratio in French football.

"Personally, I want to achieve that many goals next season," Santa Cruz said yesterday. "I have chances to score in every game I play and not to score them is a little disappointing. But to be in those situations, to recognise the need to be in certain places is good for a striker. So I am quite happy with what I am achieving but know it is not the best I can do.

"One of the reasons people want to come to England is that they want to measure themselves in this league. It is a big thing for us now as a team to see if we can achieve the goals we made at the beginning of the season."

Santa Cruz, the second top scorer in his country's history, was something of a surprise arrival in Lancashire when he opted to leave Bayern for £3.5m last summer.

But his sights are now set on hoisting seventh-placed Rovers into a European qualification place come May. "It is a big thing for us," he said. "We feel as a team we have the potential to be there and be better than we were this year in Europe.

"When I came here I heard Blackburn was a team in the middle of the table and I obviously wanted to be in one which had the ability to be better, so no one would now settle for finishing in the middle.

"We want to finish in the places for Europe to prove also that we have the potential to become even better.

"You can hardly take the places of the big four over here but the more we've been playing the more I believe we have the potential to finish in these places."