Marcelinho hopes to get ‘freedom and confidence’ from coach Habas

Pereira, also known as Marcelinho, had the worst possible start to his maiden ISL stint with Delhi Dynamos where he missed a penalty against eventual champion ATK. From there on, he went on to rack up 10 goals and five assists to take home the golden boot.

While Marcelinho favours the long format of the league and he is being continuously impressed by the quality of Indian players playing in the league (ISL) and the national side.   -  ISL / SPORTZPICS

 

Marcelo Leite Pereira wishes that his new coach Antonio Lopez Habas will provide him with the ‘freedom and confidence’ at Pune City FC, something that helped him become the top marksman in the Indian Super League (ISL). The Brazilian striker also knows that the coach will expect the best out of the club's latest signing to improve its fortunes in front of goal.

Pereira, also known as Marcelinho, had the worst possible start to his maiden ISL stint with Delhi Dynamos where he missed a penalty against eventual champion ATK. From there on, he went on to rack up 10 goals and five assists to take home the golden boot. The Stallions have pulled off a major coup ahead of the forthcoming season with his signing.

Considering the immense contribution he made in Dynamos' foray into the semifinals, it was a surprise for many including Marcelinho himself as to why he was not retained by the GMR-owned side. In the end, Pune City served as the best option for the out-of-contract striker.

On not being retained by his former side, Marcelinho tells Sportstar “I don’t know what happened. Many players were not retained by the owners and everybody looks after his own life. I am looking at my career and all the possibilities.”

He is reunited with midfielders Marcos Tebas and Kean Lewis at Pune City, who were also among the key players released by the side from the capital. Lewis, after signing for the club talked about the prospect of playing with the former Flamengo youth product.

Marcelinho, after his move on Monday, feels that things are looking up for the Maharashtra club with the new signings. “He (Lewis) is very young, good offensive player. He has a high level. It will be good again. We know each other very well. Also with Marcos together, we can help Pune,” he says.

While Marcelinho favours the long format of the league and he is being continuously impressed by the quality of Indian players playing in the league (ISL) and the national side. He also admitted that the two new teams, Bengaluru FC and Jamshedpur FC, will lead to “better quality of games” aided by better scheduling.

Having started as a pacy winger, Marcelinho has adapted to the requirements needed for a modern-day forward -- being capable of playing in any position across the front line. He is also equally good with both his feet. On his versatility, he says "I can play striker, I can play winger. Depends on the coach's needs I can help. It makes no difference to me."

In 2014, the 30-year-old had a one-year stint with Italian side Catania playing in the second division among many clubs across continents. And after playing under the stewardship of Italian World Cup winner Gianluca Zambrotta at Dynamos, Marcelinho says he has moulded his mentality towards football on the ‘Italian way’.

“When I went to Italy I learn the tactical way of playing, their mentality to train. The Italians are very, very professional in training. They are very competitive and very serious with their football. So I took the best from this Italian mentality.”

There is an excitement in his voice when he talks about his partnership with former French international Florent Malouda at Dynamos. He calls Malouda the most ‘intelligent’ player he has played with yet.

Of their association, he said: “He understands my movement. When I start to run he gives me the best ball. He will find you between the lines. For me, it was amazing to play with him.” Marcelinho hopes he can strike up a similar partnership at Pune City.

He also feels that there is an improvement in the level at Pune City this year pointing to the signings of Emiliano Alfaro and Marcos Tebas. On his expectations this year, he says, “I want to score more and help the team reach semifinals and finals, maybe even we can become champions.”

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