Due to confirmed illness of first choice Partizan goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic less than an hour ahead of Macva home league game, 28-year goalkeeper Nemanja Stevanovic was there to jump in between the posts and keep the clean sheet in a 2-0 Partizan win.
-I`m always happy to get between the posts. In the past, I would get in without any warm-up but I simply have faith in my work and whenever I get an opportunity I`m there to take it – says Stevanovic.
You were there to unexpectedly sub Stojkovic during last season`s cup Eternal derby game.
-When he got injured during cup semi against our bitter rivals I had to come in. When I walked pass boss Milosevic I saw him looking at me, kind of wanting to get confirmation I`m ready for it. I was really assured of my abilities and just smiled and winked at him, as a sign he needed not to worry.
Now you replaced Stojkovic less than an hour before the kick-off.
-Two of us hang a lot together, we are great mates. All of us, including young keeper Popovic, want to keep things calm at the back. Sadly, it turned out Stojkovic got infected by Covid-19 and it could have happened to any of us. When medical team made a decision to leave Stojkovic out, it actually happened some ten minutes before warm-up so I was ready to take over. I`m patient, have faith and I`m glad I did the job. Of course, it`s normal to concede but we do our best to reduce the number of conceded goals.
You were applauded at as you walked towards the tunnel at half-time.
-I`m glad fans love me and support me. Unfortunately, there`s no spectators so I was applauded by club`s employees, journalists and players not among subs. I felt all that when I was close to leave the club during summer transfer window. I really give my best at training sessions and during games and I think everyone recognizes my efforts. You all know I easily get booked on the bench when I feel decisions are against my team, therefore they all recognize my love for the club.
With arrival of new boss Stanojevic, all three goalkeepers get their minutes on the pitch.
-With his arrival, we are all more involved with the team work and I like that a lot. But, I have to give credit to our goalkeeper`s coach Nemanja Jovsic with whom I made a lot of progress, especially in tactical terms.
Will Partizan get back to the right track?
-Of course. These are testing times but we`ll come stronger! There`s bad luck around as well, injuries and illnesses. Just give us some time to pick up. Sometimes, it`s like when you need to shake your brain to get a better picture.