17-year-old centre-back Strahinja Pavlovic made a first team debut as a second half sub against Proleter but his full debut was no other than Eternal derby match.
Pundits already knew Pavlovic had a great battling spirit and some were wary that this young player will have trouble with his performance and emotions in such big game. But, Pavlovic was up to the occasion and showed that boss Mirkovic was no wrong to pick him.
-I can`t describe how happy I am after my first derby game him, says Pavlovic.
After the match, lots of people congratulated me on my performance and there were lots of positive comments. We were all aware of derby game`s importance, especially the pressure involved when you have one such young player taking up the responsibility. Therefore, I particularly want to thank my teammates for their support. They were all behind me prior to the game trying to get the derby burden of me. Boss Mirkovic told me to be calm and to enjoy my football. I love all the praise I got but I`m aware this is just the beginning and anything can change in no time. There`s lots of work ahead of me.
It probably affected you to get booked so early, after just 16 minutes.
-Of course it did. I needed to be more cautious afterwards and to react differently not to get my team into trouble. I had no intention to kick anyone in any tackle and I think second booking would be too much anyway. I`m so happy we worked as a team, with desire and fighting spirit involved but I`m sad we didn`t win it. But, we`ll meet again.
Did your parents attend the game?
-My father and brother were there while my mother watched it at home. They are so happy as I made a good full debut in a make or break game. This is only my second official Partizan game and another boost forward. I`m glad we showed there`s another Partizan youngster for the club`s future besides Markovic, Sehovic, Djerlek and others.
On Wednesday, Partizan hosts second-placed Radnicki.
-It might prove even tougher game than derby one. Radnicki is on a great streak and they will want to keep it that way but we want to end their winning streak in our home. There`s no time to rest, we need to use all our playing powers although there are suspended players now after the derby game. I call on our fans to come and give us their support on Wednesday evening.