Young Partizan keeper Aleksandar Popovic spoke to Partizan website about last night`s Sparta win and on upcoming Sunday`s Eternal Derby game. 22-year-old keeper is in contention to be in the starting line-up on Sunday, which will be his potential debut away to Crvena Zvezda.
Partizan is in the last 16 of Europa Conference League. How much influence has Sparta game on team`s energy ahead of Great Belgrade Derby?
“It has an influence, for sure. First of all, I`d like to congratulate to our team, this is a great tie win and historic success. I think it`s very important we keep the good mood and energy we have around the squad and to use all our strengths for derby game now”, said Popovic.
Partizan is leading the SSL pack with five points advantage.
“We were calm and cool since the start of the season and knew what our objectives are. It was all about going step by step and that`s how it`s going to be regarding derby game as well. We all know how important that match is but we try to get ready for it in a usual way. Stadium will be packed, there`ll be more home supporters, but we will shake off that pressure as we always do. Each game is like a little final to us, derby is just another such game in a row”.
How many Eternal derby games you were involved in?
-First one was at home, a 1-1 draw. This would be the first one away.
Is there a certain kind of pressure involved with you? You are now an experienced goalie, with quite a few big matches behind you, both domestically and in Europe.
“I wouldn`t say I`m too experienced but those European matches and one derby game I played, mean a lot to me. This will be one new experience for me and I`ll try to go through it in a best possible way”.
Are you going to have special preparation in the next 48 hours?
-No, as I said, we`ll try to prepare as we always do. We know it`s the biggest game in Serbian football but each one is a final for us, so I`ll get ready as I always do”.
Your predecessor Vladimir Stojkovic was always under scrutiny of Crvena Zvezda fans. Are you going to have any psychological preps as you will suffer a lot of attacks from the North stand?
“Stojkovic is Partizan great and football legend, much bigger than I am. Of course, I expect boos and shouts but I`ll try to switch off, focus on the game and do what`s up to me”, said Popovic.