Goal hero Chopra hails team-mates

19 August 2009 06:25
Michael Chopra thanked team-mate Peter Whittingham for gifting him his first hat-trick in two-and-a half years as he fired Cardiff top of the Championship. The Cardiff striker had already put City 2-0 up at Plymouth before Chris Burke was fouled in the box. Designated penalty taker Whittingham handed Chopra the ball to score his sixth goal already this season. "Credit to Whitts as many players, including myself, would have taken it regardless," he said. "I was looking over to the bench as I wasn't sure if the gaffer knew I had scored two goals," revealed £4m summer signing Chopra. "Pete could have stepped up and put the penalty away himself but, fair play, he gave it to me and let me take it." Cardiff boss Dave Jones added: "Peter Whittingham is the designated penalty taker but if a player is on a hat-trick, I can't be that cruel. "If the score would have been 2-2 then it would have been different but I can't take it away from Chopra. I'm not as cold hearted as people may think!" Former Sunderland striker Chopra, who re-signed for Cardiff in a club-record deal this summer, gave the Bluebirds a fourth minute lead at Plymouth with a miss-hit shot from Bothroyd's pass. Chopra then rounded Plymouth keeper Romain Larrieu for his second ten minutes from time thanks to a teasing chip through by Whittingham. The former Aston Villa midfielder showed further generosity by handing Chopra the chance to claim a hat-trick and the match ball. "I'm delighted with the hat-trick," he admitted. "All of the headlines will be about me but I must give a lot of credit to my team-mates because they made my job easy, all I had to do was to stick the ball in the net." The 25-year-old Championship top-scorer, though, concedes his prolific streak is due to much luck as well as design. Chopra's opened his goal account this season with the first strike in Cardiff's 4-0 victory over Scunthorpe, which thanks to a lucky deflection off his heel from Whittingham's shot. His goal at in Cardiff's weekend 1-1 draw at Blackpool took a huge deflection before looping over keeper Paul Rachubka. And his opener in Home Park on Tuesday was a fortunate miss-hit that crept inside the near post. "I've scored six goals in three games and I'm on fire," he said. "But luck is on my side at the moment as things are going in off my heel, I'm benefiting from deflections. "And even my first against Plymouth, I was trying to hit the ball across the keeper but the ball hit my left foot and diverts into the net at the near post." Chopra has scored 37 goals in 68 league starts for Cardiff in total during his three stints in South Wales.

Source: BBC_Sport