Brighton & Hove Albion defender Bernardo insists that he must continue to perform at a high level if he’s to keep his place in the side.
The summer arrival has become a regular in Chris Hughton’s starting eleven, playing the entirety of the last eight Premier League matches since the end of November, but he knows he has to maintain his recent impressive showings to stay in the team.
He said, “I’m really satisfied at the moment. I’ve kept a good level and that’s very important – apart from the first game of the season I feel like I’ve maintained myself in the team.
“I waited for a long time and knew when my chance did come that I’d have to be fully prepared and focused to make the most of it and keep my place in the side.
“The competition here is massive – if you have one bad game there will be someone there to take your place – both Gaetan [Bong] and Markus [Suttner] are very good players and would also do a good job, I always have to focus on being my best.”
Albion’s last two outings have been on home soil against Arsenal and Everton respectively – a 1-1 draw with the Gunners was followed by a 1-0 win over Everton on Saturday.
The full-back reflected on the two performances, as well as discussing the reason for his familiarity with a recent opposing player thanks to a certain video game.
“It was a good period and a nice present to get four points – the game with Everton was perfect with the win. The point against Arsenal meant we left the pitch with a good feeling because we more than matched their level on the afternoon.
“At home at the Amex and with the fans’ energy we made things a bit more equal and got a good result on Saturday - I’m a fan of Theo Walcott who I came up against – I used to always buy him on my career mode on FIFA because his stats meant he was so quick when he played for Arsenal!
“I used to play with him and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on either wing, but Theo is a very tough and famous player who is well respected within the game – against them you have to be very tight and not give them too much space because they’ll hurt and punish you.
“I was concentrating for the whole game and managed to restrict him, so it was a good experience – playing against players I used to play as is a bit funny.
“Most of my football knowledge comes from the video game – in Brazil if you’re being realistic you can’t watch every game. Of course, you know about the big teams, but it gives you a lot of statistics about people that are away from the mainstream.”
This evening the Seagulls face West Ham United at the London Stadium, and are looking to follow up their impressive 3-0 win in the capital last term – Bernardo singled out fellow countryman Felipe Anderson as being key to the home side’s fortunes tonight.
“He’s [Felipe Anderson] a fantastic player, I was quite surprised with how fast he’s adapted to English football since he moved from Italy – he deserves to be playing for the national team because the numbers don’t lie and he's a big player for them.
“It’s both good and bad to be involved in the group at the moment! I always want the best for my country and for them to have the best players in the best division – the Premier League is that place, but it obviously means it's difficult to get into the national side.
“The competition is always nice – as a defender you might not get the same recognition as a forward player who might score a goal or do something really memorable – but that’s just football, goals are the most valuable moments in matches so naturally those get appreciated a little bit more.”