By Alam Khan — Andre Gomes is ready to lead Everton’s European ambitions after banishing his Barcelona troubles.
Having rebuilt his career on loan with the Toffees last season, the Portugal midfielder has completed a £22m move with a five-year contract.
A fresh start is what Gomes, 25, needed after two seasons at Barcelona where he sought specialist help to handle expectations.
“We all know it’s not easy,” he said, as he unveiled Everton’s new home kit which they will wear in the SportPesa Trophy on Sunday.
“It’s a massive club with a different kind of pressure. Only a few players who Barcelona sign stay there for a long time. But we can’t see that as a negative. It’s like a process.
“I think the first year was good and the second was difficult dealing with expectations. The problem was with me. It was the pressure and expectation I put on myself, not that of the fans or the club.
“At that time I had one person I was speaking to, to try to help me to figure out some issues I had with myself.
“When I go home and we have lost or I didn’t play well, I don’t talk for two or three days. Now I am more open. I don’t feel like I failed, no. You learn from your mistakes.
“Sometimes it doesn’t work like you want it, or the club wants it. But I think you just have to figure out a way to play football and enjoy yourself and help a new team.”
Gomes wanted to feel “more capable again” at Everton and ignored interest from Tottenham and West Ham to stay. He says neighbours Liverpool are an example to follow, too.
‘We have the ambition’
“They are an example of success because they won the Champions League, the most important competition in Europe. But we are improving a lot and want to get better and to fight with the big ones.
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“A few years ago, Liverpool also had a few years not so good. So we want to reach a level to play against the big teams.
“The thing is, we have the ambition. We want less ups and downs during the year and I seriously think we can achieve big goals, fifth or sixth, at least.”