Nelson Oliveira reveals the best bit about Saturday – and it wasn’t his late equaliser
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
One thing really made Nelson Oliveira happy on Saturday – and it wasn’t his injury-time equaliser.
The Portuguese striker came off the bench for the final 16 minutes and duly delivered his fifth goal of the season with almost the last touch of the game, to ensure City maintained their unbeaten record with a 1-1 draw against 10-man Hull.
It was his first goal since his winner over Birmingham at the start of September – although that fact owes as much to the persistent groin problem Oliveira has been battling in recent weeks.
And the striker now hopes those issues are over, which would be good timing given an important month of fixtures continues with Sunday’s East Anglian derby at Portman Road.
“My injury came in a bad moment because I was in really good shape,” said Oliveira. “I was coming from the national team, I scored against Birmingham and then after Burton I got this injury. Then for Middlesbrough I felt good but after coming on for 10 minutes, I felt bad again.
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“It’s hard because every time I’m on the pitch or in training, I’m scared. I think I will not shoot or I will not dribble because I will feel pain.
“Now I feel very good, I feel with no pain – and this makes me more happy than the goal to be fair, because what I want is to play football and the last few months was frustrating because I couldn’t.
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“Groin injuries, especially my injury, is hard because for example when I played against Middlesbrough, training and running at maximum speed I don’t feel pain. But after explosive movements, I do.
“So it’s something you can’t control and sometimes you feel frustrated because you don’t feel pain until you get on the pitch.
“To step back is not easy but this is what it is with groin injuries and I’m happy because I’m fit again.
“It was a bit of a problem before, because the last month we had a lot of games – seven games in 21 days I think, and this is hard.
“Now it’s good because we played Saturday and now we have more than a week because we play on Sunday, and this means I can manage myself, I can rest a bit and train hard as well. This will all help.
“When you are struggling and you score a goal, this gives you confidence – but what gave me more confidence here is playing 20 minutes and not feeling pain, because what I’m looking for is to be happy again, to be able to play football – and I’m happy because I feel fit again.”