Gabriel says the “wonderful crowd and beautiful stadium” helped him remain calm on his Arsenal debut.
The Brazilian defender started the Gunners’ FA Cup fifth-round victory against Middlesbrough on Sunday, and helped his new team keep a clean sheet.
Despite only speaking basic English, Gabriel said he was not overawed by the occasion.
"I saw that wonderful crowd, that great show, that beautiful stadium and the game became quite relaxed"
“When I was told I would play I felt really calm, then on matchday I was still calm,” the defender told Arsenal.com.
“As soon as we got to the stadium I felt butterflies in my stomach because I think it is normal for every player to feel that way. The day you stop feeling nervous is the day you should stop playing football.
“I had that feeling but as soon as I stepped on the pitch it was all gone. The feeling in my stomach went away. I saw that wonderful crowd, that great show, that beautiful stadium and the game became quite relaxed.
“And in relation to understanding my team-mates, I always wanted to be tuned into what [Laurent Koscielny] was doing so I could try doing the same. I tried to listen to him as well, to listen to a few words.
“In my [English] lessons I always ask the teacher to teach me the main words we use on the pitch, like “defend, leave, go back”. So I had no difficulty with my defensive partner. We understood each other really well, and the most important thing is that we managed to win the game.”
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