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Interview: Incheon United's Gerso Fernandes

notice 2023.03.30   I   hits 1100

Incheon United's Gerso Fernandes says the aim heading to April is to stabilize the team's form after a "rocky" start to the 2023 Hana 1Q K League 1 campaign. Gerso also lauds the Incheon United fans and talks about how the move transpired.

Q: Did the international break come at the right time or wrong time for you? Would you have preferred to have another game straight away to put things right, or were you happy to take time away to reset?

A: "For me, it was kind of like both. After the end of the game, I was like, yeah, just feel like I wanna get the next game so we can get this right and show everyone that was just a mistake. It was just a game where we didn't have, I don't know, enough luck or it was just a bad game and would not happen again. But at the same time, it was good to have a week off to look at the game and see what was wrong and what can we do better so this doesn't happen again."

Q: You came to K League at a time when there weren't a lot of fans in the stands due to the pandemic but now you've played at Incheon's stadium and in front of the Incheon fans, has the level of support surprised you? There were 3,000 at FC Seoul, 10,000 were at the first home game...

A: "Very, very much. I gotta say, I don't wanna compare that much, but I came from Jeju. We didn't have a lot of fans, so I was kind of like, I knew that Incheon would have more but I had no idea how [many] and the first away game against Seoul, I just had like this emotion, I don't know this feeling. It was a happy feeling. This scene, so many fans in an away game, a home game can only be [even] better and indeed it was better. So I was really surprised in a great way. And I'm actually really, really happy that we have that many supporters that come to support us and watch the game. And hopefully, we can give them more wins so they can keep coming and bring more friends and family and just bring more people to the stadium because that's part of soccer as well, right? What gets us, at least me as a player, something that gets me going, gives me more energy is just having the supporters behind me."

Q: How would you assess the start of the season from the team's perspective and also from your own as well? 

A: "Well, from the team perspective I would say it's not been very steady as we wanted to. Because we have been like up and down, like we won, we lost the first one, tied the second, finally won against Jeju but then we lost 5-0. So it's been a little bit rocky, let's say, and that's not what we want. We wanna try to stabilize our results and trying to be between wins and ties and avoid the Ls. As for me, individually, I feel like have been having a lot of chances to do a little bit better. Maybe I'm not making the best decisions in the moment but I feel like I will get there. The longer the season will go I will get better and just be able to finish better - those little details like assist or scoring that I'm missing because opportunities have been there definitely so I just need to be better to finish off [the chances].

Q: There's been a few instances this season where you have come off early. When that happens, and the game is not going your way, are you fine with going off? What's your thinking in those kinds of situations?

A: "For me coming off when the situation is more difficult, like losing the heavy it's difficult for me. It hurts me even more. I mean, it's harder for me to accept that because I always have in my mind [that] something can change; I can score, I can assist, and we can gain momentum and still try to get something out of this game. But from the moment I'm subbed off, then there is nothing, literally nothing that I can do besides trying to cheer up my teammates. So for me, it's difficult to take it, but at the same time, it's the coach's decision. And I feel like the other players, of course, wanna come in and try to help the team as much as they can."

Q: You seem to have struck up a good understanding with Hernandes. We saw that with the goal against Jeju, as soon as he got the ball you made the run. Was that something that came off the training ground, or was it just instinct?

A: "It is instinct. And I've said this before that when he has the ball and I have space, I know that I can run, that he's gonna pass me the ball. And the same thing for him when I have the ball with the space he just runs and he calls for me, and I know that I can pass him the ball, that he's in good a position to do something good, so we can understand that from each other. And we just make it simple for each other because if the situation is there and we have confidence in each other, just play the ball and let him do the rest."

Q: And you're both Portuguese speakers too so that must help a lot?

A:  Yes, definitely. I would say that that helps a lot. A lot. I mean, it makes us closer just for the fact that we can both speak Portuguese and understand each other better. And just the fact that Hernandes is a super cool dude. It's super easy to chill with him, I'm always laughing with him, so we kind of have like a good relationship, which makes everything easier on the field, you know, than we can talk and it just works better that way. 

Q: Tell me about the move to Incheon. Was there a conversation about staying at Jeju?

A: Well, so my first intention would if I could get an agreement with Jeju then I would stay in Korea. But if I couldn't get an agreement with Jeju my plan actually was not to come back to Korea. It was to try either Japan or the Middle East or something. So Incheon with different offers but they never give up. Even the coach said that he would come to United States to my house to talk with me, to try to convince me. And they wrote a letter, a really nice letter saying, 'Hey, we really want you. This is what we can offer you. We're trying to do our best to bring you in, and we really want you here.' But then finally we got an agreement but it took some time. They never gave up actually."