Valskis relishing the challenge of getting Jamshedpur into the top four

Jamshedpur FC have roped in several exciting players ahead of the 2020-21 season, including Hero Indian Super League’s (Hero ISL) 2019-20 Golden Boot winner Nerijus Valskis. During a chat with The Telegraph, The Lithuanian striker, who recently landed in Goa for pre-season, admitted that he is looking forward to challenging for a top four spot with Jamshedpur – something the club is yet to achieve.

“Owen (Coyle) was the most significant influence for me (to join Jamshedpur). It’s a new challenge, because Jamshedpur have never been in the top four. And playing again under Owen Coyle made sense to me as I share a great camaraderie with him,” Valskis said.

He scored 15 goals for Chennaiyin FC last season on the way to the Marina Machans’ third Hero ISL final. And while the clinical striker understands the burden of scoring that’s on his shoulder, Valskis insisted that his only target with the team is their collective good. “Even if I’m scoring eight goals but manage to win maximum games, that’s perfect. That’s my sole target,” the 33-year-old said.

READ: Nerijus Valskis: Owen Coyle is the reason I moved to Jamshedpur

The forward arrived in India along with his head coach Owen Coyle as well as defender Peter Hartley and is currently in isolation at the team hotel. While discussing the mental aspect of the game ahead of the new season with all clubs set to spend the entirety of the campaign in a bio-secure bubble, Valskis shared, “It will be very hard on the psychological front to stay five-six months alone without family. But I sleep, eat, watch movies and read some magazines. That’s how I am spending time in isolation.”

Since the start of Hero ISL 2020-21 is getting closer with each passing day, Valskis is excited about playing for Jamshedpur and spoke highly about the club’s facilities as well as fans. “They have everything that one needs as a professional football player – the training ground, gym, swimming pool, a stadium with amazing support always coming in full. The grass quality is number one in India,” Valskis remarked.

However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the upcoming season will be held behind closed doors and while speaking about the prospect of playing without any fans, Valskis said, “We are playing for the fans and want them to be happy. They support us and push us to play better and better. But we need to understand about the present situation in the world.”

“The fans are so passionate as well. I remember seeing so many people who came to watch the matches, over 20,000 people every game. It’s simply spectacular. This is passion. We are here to make some good memories with you. And I hope to be successful along with you all,” Valskis added.

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