Bernardo: 'I would play in goal for Brighton if it means getting a game'
One of the few positives to emerge from Brighton and Hove Albion's 1-0 loss at Everton last Saturday was the performance of Bernardo.
The Brazilian left-sided player started the match at left-wing back, then moved into central midfield, before finishing in his more regular position of left back.
Bernardo was back in the team largely due to the shoulder injury sustained by Dan Burn against Chelsea.
The 24-year-old competed well in an intense match at Goodison Park and now looks set to play a key role in Albion's crucial upcoming fixtures against lowly Aston Villa, Bournemouth, West Ham and Watford as Burn continues his recovery.
“It was very frustrating for me at the start of the season," said Bernardo. "Especially because of the injury and it is not a nice feeling when you are side-lined and you see them doing well, but you are not part of it - at least you feel like you are not part of it.
"Now I am fit and I hope I get my opportunity to save my season and leave the season with the feeling that I did something good. Till now I haven’t played much so I want to make as much of my opportunity as possible."
The match at Everton was a high-octane affair. The hosts were eager to prove a point to their fans following their disappointing display in the FA Cup against Liverpool. Bernardo was one of Brighton's better performers on the day but admitted he needs a few more matches before he reaches his highest level.
“The more I play the more confident I get and also the fitter I get," said the £9m signing from Leipzig. "It is difficult when it is your first 70 or 90 minutes and when you get on in a league like this, which is very intense you need a few games to get used to it.
"If I can get a chance to string together some game time in theory that is the best thing for me.
“I don’t wish anything bad for Dan (Burn), but that is why you have so many players on the team in case players get injured, players are not playing that well and you need some to step in.
"This was a situation where I was the right man to come in for him, so If I get the chance to keep playing, I want to take this opportunity and do the best for myself and the best for the team.”
Head coach Graham Potter changed his tactics at halftime at Everton which saw Bernardo take-up a central midfield role. It is a position he has played before during his time in Austria but the first time he has featured there for Albion in the Premier League.
“In Austria I used to play in that position. In the training sessions Graham (Potter) has tried me in there and we even had a conversation a few weeks ago where he told me ‘I like what you are doing in this position, maybe when I need someone a bit more aggressive to press, what do you think of me using you in this position’.
"I said to him I’m here to help, if you think that I should play in this position when you need me, I’ll do it without a problem and today was the moment.
“I am happy to play. I prefer to play in goal than be on the bench, but that is how I think. After playing football for a few years my best position is left-back that is what I understand.
"I am open to play any position especially when the trainer give you feedback, you need to respect his feedback because he knows a lot about football. If Graham wants to use me in this position or any other position and I am going to help the team then I am up to it.”