Bruno spoke to the matchday magazine ahead of the final match of the season against Manchester United. Below is an extract from the interview.
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You’ve said it was your dream to play in the Premier League so has it lived up to all expectation?
I’m playing in the best league, against some of the best players in the world, and as a footballer that’s what you want to do – to play in the best place possible. I was always following the Premier League when I was playing in Spain and now having that chance to play at this level is just amazing. I’ve played at the highest level in Spain, having been promoted from the second division and you think it’s going to be a massive difference, but you soon realise that the levels are really close, and it’s all about the small details – and that’s been the same for us this season. It’s the fine margins that make all the difference but we’ve shown that we can play at this level, and even against the big teams, overall we’ve performed well.
When did you feel everything starting to click into place this season?
I think the first win against West Brom made a big difference. It helped with our confidence and our belief that we could play at this level. Until you get that first win it makes it much harder but that Saturday, winning the game and scoring goals, we showed that we could play at this level.
What has been your own personal highlight from the season?
I have so many good memories, like the first home game against Manchester City – that was a very special for the club. Yes we lost but we performed really well against a team that became worthy champions in the end. As mentioned, that first win was special, also our first away win at West Ham. I also really liked our performance at Manchester United in the league as well. The performance was so good, the fans were outstanding as well, and Jose Mourinho said to me afterwards that it was the hardest test they’d had all season. That was nice to hear from one of the best managers in the world.
You had a spell out of the team, with Ezequiel Schelotto coming in. Has that been inevitable given your age, at the levels we are playing at?
I don’t think it’s about age; it’s about decisions that the manager has to make. It came when I got injured and after that Ezequiel was playing, the team was working well and winning points, so I understood the situation. Of course it’s frustrating when you’re not playing but what you have to do is keep as fit as possible, as sharp as you can be. As we all know, football can change in a moment and you always have to be ready to play.
We know you look after yourself off the pitch but is there anything extra you’ve done this season to make sure you’re able to play in the Premier League at 37?
No, it’s been all about keeping those same habits. To be honest, the biggest difference between the Championship and the Premier League is the amount of games and the physicality as well. It’s not as physical now and we play fewer games and that has meant I’ve been able to rest my body a lot more than last season. That has helped me quite a lot, but in terms of diet I haven’t changed anything.
The fans have been fantastic at the Amex this season, haven’t they?
They’ve been a massive part of our success – and that’s what we’ve needed, that 12th man, which has been so important for us. Every season since I’ve been here they’ve been behind us but there have been a few games this season where they’re support has been particularly memorable here: Newcastle, Arsenal and Tottenham. Those three games the fans were unbelievable and that atmosphere helped us get the results we needed. Every season our fans been outstanding and I’d just like to say thank you on behalf of all the players.