Police escorts and security. Ivo Pinto will take the East Anglian derby in his stride
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Ivo Pinto loves the passion of the East Anglian derby but it comes nowhere near the intimidation factor of his previous career posting.
The Portuguese defender will lead Norwich City into battle at Portman Road on Sunday (midday kick-off) looking to inflict more misery on the Blues.
Pinto joined City from Croatian powerhouses Dinamo Zagreb, and the 27-year-old revealed the depth of the hatred that exists with bitter rivals Hadjuk Split.
“That was crazy. Not inside the pitch but outside. This one is more about football and I like this one,” he said. “It was dangerous even to play there. Our way from the hotel to the stadium in Hadjuk had to be with five police vans and police everywhere and all the security around our team coach. Here, people are more about football.
“That is the most important thing. You can win, you can lose. This is a big, big derby but we will handle the game. It’s going to be a good war and an exciting match between two good teams.
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“The atmosphere will be hard for us but with our fans we can achieve good things. The spirit that is around the team is beautiful, and that includes the fans, and it helps us win games.”
City may prefer to head over the border after winning their last four away games, in contrast to some patchy displays at Carrow Road.
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“When you are away from home you must have not only quality but character and personality,” he said. “Sometimes you can score once and if you keep it together you win the match 1-0 and come back smiling and happy.
“Look at last season and we were brilliant at home and not so away. This season we are very, very good at this moment away from home. We are tough to play against. We just need to find the balance between the two.”
Pinto has emerged as a leader in the continuing absence of Russell Martin.
“It’s a pleasure to wear the armband for this big, big club, especially for the derby. I am very proud,” he said. “I think we have the better team, but we have to show that. I hope I can help the team in an important game.
“I want to keep all the boys together. We don’t have one captain. We are all captains. When we think like that them we are in a better way. I can help them, but they can help me as well.”