Otavio: "We'll be keeping an eye on Balotelli"
Brazilian ready for OGC Nice
INTERVIEW - Thursday, February 22, 2018 - 17:00
Midfielder speaks to Girondins.com about the defeat in Marseille, and the changes to look out for this weekend against Nice.
Girondins.com: Hi Otavio, how do you feel after the Marseille game?
Otavio: Hello! I'm good, but disappointed about losing to Marseille. I know how important that match was. Not so much for our position in the league, but for the supporters. After the rough spell we had we owe it to the fans to win, whoever we're up against. But it's in the past now, I'm already focused on the next match against Nice. I can promise you now that we'll be ready for a big game on Sunday. We want our revenge! [Nice won 1-0 earlier in the season]
Girondins.com: You've become a fixture of the starting 11 under Gus Poyet. How did you deal with the period when you weren't always starting, and how does it feel to be back?
Otavio: I've always worked hard and respected the manager's choice, whether I'm starting or not. Even when I wasn't playing so much I never lost sight of my goals, or lost the motivation to train. I've always stayed confident and, God willing, Mr. Poyet is giving me the chance to show what I can do. My main priority is the team. I want to do everything I can to help the team, to reach our goals together.
Girondins.com: The directors decided to strengthen the squad during the transfer window, with Paul Baysse in defence, Martin Braithwaite up front and Soualiho Meïté in the middle. How is that working out, are you getting on well with the new players?
Otavio: All three are excellent players who've brought a lot to the squad. They're quality players in three important positions. We get on really well, which is good for the team. We communicate a lot, we work on getting the best from everybody. The relationships between team mates are built day after day: in training, in matches and off the field too. We help each other out, which is really important for getting the best out of everybody.
The team is always my top priority
Girondins.com: Gus Poyet has been using a 4-3-3 formation in recent games. You've been playing almost as a sweeper, with Soualiho Meïté and Lukas Lerager on either side - is that something you enjoy? And what has changed in training to prepare you for this new set-up?
Otavio: I've always been comfortable in that position, it puts me in charge of directing play and organising defensive actions. My job is to always be in the right place in the middle of the field, to protect the defence as much as possible. The whole team is working hard on making that defence to counter-attack transition work. We're working on making the midfield solid, and over the past few weeks it's been paying off.
Girondins.com: Before joining the Girondins you were with Atletico Paranaense in Brazil. What are the main differences you've noticed between the style of play in France and Brazil?
Otavio: Football is the same all over the world, it's a sort of universal language. But the culture, and even the philosophy around the game can be different. You have to adapt to a new country, a new culture… Obviously France is different from Brazil, which is different from Spain and so on. I had to adapt as quickly as possibly, and I feel like I settled in pretty quickly. I've got used to the French style of play too. My goal is to always be at the top of my game.
We're all determined to
put in a big performance
Girondins.com: Since joining Bordeaux you've played as a central midfielder and, now, in more of a sweeper role. Where do you think you're at your best?
Otavio: The two positions aren't very far apart. Being in the centre requires a bit less movement, but more organisation. As a sweeper you need to be communicating all the time, and have excellent timing. But I'm comfortable with both. Gus has put me in the position which works best for the team, and I'm happy with that. The important thing is to win, it doesn't matter where I play.
Girondins.com: Let's talk a bit about the team. After four consecutive victories you lost to Marseille last weekend. What was the reaction in the dressing room?
Otavio: We were on a roll of four wins, and everybody was determined to keep that run going. We were really expecting to win, even if it was away from home and we weren't the favourites. As I said, we were very disappointed with the result. But we've stayed focused, and we won't let one disappointing performance slow us down. We're now totally focused on the next match, back at home. We need to play our best football, in attack and defence, to get those three points.
Girondins.com: As you mentioned, the next match is this Sunday at the Matmut ATLANTIQUE against OGC Nice. Earlier in the season you lost out to a goal from Mario Balotelli. Apart from the striker, who else will you be looking out for this weekend?
Otavio: We need to be on guard at all times. We won't be focusing on one particular player, because Nice have quality all over the pitch. Obviously we'll be keeping an eye on Balotelli, he's an excellent striker, but there are plenty of other players we need to watch too. We're all determined to put in a big performance against Nice so, as I said, we'll be working hard all over the pitch to keep control of the ball and get the result!
Thank you Otavio and good luck for Sunday!