Motivated to win titles, not Golden Boot: Valskis
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/cit ... 216757.cms
PANAJI: Nerijus Valskis didn’t really know what to expect from India when he packed his bags to join Chennaiyin FC, although he never really forgot what Andrija Kaluderovic told him.
Kaluderovic spent a season at Delhi Dynamos FC and knew about the Indian Super League (ISL). Like many foreign players, he had good things to say: about the facilities, the fans, and even the money. But for Valskis – and we know how goals are football's currency – it was what he said about the ‘goals’ that stayed with him.
“I didn’t know anything. When I asked about India, Kaluderovic told me ‘if you score goals, people will love you, you will enjoy.’ That’s exactly what happened to me,” said Valskis, now with Jamshedpur FC.
Valskis took some time to get into the groove but Chennaiyin’s bet on a player who had experience of playing in many countries was worth it. Once the Lithuanian striker got going, it only ended with the Golden Boot, thanks to his 15 goals and six assists in 20 matches.
For many, it came as a surprise. For Valskis, he simply believed in himself; after all, he’s the same player who once scored 27 goals in the A Lyga -- Lithuania's top division -- and has experience of playing in Belarus, Romania, Poland, Latvia, Thailand and Israel.
“I expected to have a good season here but didn’t expect to win the Golden Boot. The top target was always to get into the playoffs,” said Valskis
That Valskis – initially not approved by the ISL as a foreign player – won the Golden Boot ahead of celebrated strikers like Ferran Corominas, Bartholomew Ogbeche and Roy Krishna speaks volumes of his persistence on the field. And now that he has moved to Jamshedpur on a two-year deal, the goals have remained unchanged.
“The motivation for me is to take Jamshedpur FC to the playoffs, and then anything can happen. Winning the ISL title motivates me, not the Golden Boot,” said Valskis.
For different reasons since their debut in 2017, Jamshedpur have not managed to qualify for the playoffs. They started well last season, even defeated league champions FC Goa away at Fatorda, but then injuries crippled them. They tried, never really recovered.
This time with the inspirational Owen Coyle at the helm of affairs and an impressive mix of foreign players – led by former Motherwell FC defender Peter Hartley – Jamshedpur look as good as anyone else.
“We have a good team. We have Owen, the most important factor why I came here. We have a very good project. It’s possible that we can drive Jamshedpur to the top four. Then everything is possible,” said Valskis.
If he strikes the same form that took Chennaiyin from the bottom to the final, Jamshedpur should brace themselves for their most impressive season.