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Afolayan: “In England you don’t have that every week”

The Boys in Brown continue their league campaign with the game of the day against FC Schalke 04 this Saturday (20.30 CET). In the run-up to the visit of the Royal Blues, wide man Oladapo Afolayan took time out to speak to the media.

Oladapo Afolayan on…

...opening the goal floodgates at long last: “We might have had a mental barrier. When a goal like Connor’s goes in after just four minutes, you get the feeling it could be a special day. We scored five and it could have been seven. That was good for the team. An early goal like that always gives you confidence for the rest of the game.”

...his own start to the season: “We had a really strong end to last season and played a lot of games. In the summer I came back here and had to get my body used to the intensity again. It was a tactical decision to take me out of the team in the first game against Kaiserslautern and that’s fine. Since I played against Düsseldorf, I’ve played well and been happy with my performances. I always try to do my best. To be honest, I feel in a really good place and I’m playing with confidence right now. Especially in the last three games I’ve felt I’ve stepped up a little bit and given the team a bit more, so I want to keep doing that.”

...his goal against Holstein Kiel: “The way the ball came to me, it was just instinct for me to hit it that way because it was a tight angle and for me coming on my right foot it’s hard for me to sidefoot it in that position. I knew I had to keep my head down and just strike it because those can easily go over the South Stand, so it was just about focusing on the technique, striking it well and hoping it goes in and fortunately it did. It’s always a special feeling to score at home in front of your own fans.”

Oladapo Afolayan (seen here under challenge from Philipp Sander) put in a strong performance on the right wing against Kiel.

Oladapo Afolayan (seen here under challenge from Philipp Sander) put in a strong performance on the right wing against Kiel.

...being the only undefeated team in the league: “It’s a good feeling, but we’re not too concerned about that at the moment. We want to work hard, we want to improve, and we want to win games. I don’t think that looking at the rest of the league is good for anyone at this point. Last season, we saw how deceiving league tables can be at the beginning of the season compared to the end with where we finished.”

...the forthcoming home game against FC Schalke 04: “It’ll be similar to every game in this division. They’re all tough. Every team poses different challenges. We’ll go out and try and perform the way we have done in the early weeks of this season and take the confidence from Sunday’s game into the game against Schalke.”

...home games in front of 30,000 fans: “It’s a special feeling for me. In England it’s something you don’t have as much at every ground, only for the really good games. I’ve played in front of 26,000 or 27,000 there but only on the odd occasion. Here we have 30,000 fans every week, so to have that and to have the support of the fans, and how loud they are, is really something special for me.”

...his passion for golf: “I only started playing about a year and a half, two years ago. My handicap has just dropped down to 15.2. In England you have a lot of free time after football, so some teammates took me with them to play golf and I really enjoyed it. For me it’s a nice mental release as well. Being a footballer is an amazing job, but it also comes with a lot of stress and pressure. Golf’s a way for me to get away from that. It’s helped me learn to be more patient and relax more. It’s similar to football in that there’s no use getting frustrated, so when we drew four games in a row my mindset was to take the positives out of the situation rather than seeing the negatives. It’s just about believing in what we do here and how we train and how we play, and I take that with me into every match.”

Photos: Witters