Alex Telles

Telles: You don’t play in derbies, you win them

Thursday 10 December 2020 09:00

Alex Telles says Saturday's Manchester derby will be "an important milestone in my career" as the Reds get set to host the Blues at Old Trafford.

The Brazilian summer signing has experienced derby days elsewhere and is desperate to play his part in his first all-Manchester clash.

During a fascinating interview with the City edition of United Review, Telles reflected on making his debut for Internazionale in the Milan derby and discussed the derby mentality back in his homeland.

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"In Brazil, we say that you don’t play in derbies you win them, so we’ll definitely go into the game with this mentality," he declared.

"It’s certainly an important game and an important milestone in my career. I know how historically important the derby game is. You go into derbies to win. As always, it’s important that we respect the opposition. We know that derbies are decided on small details and the best-prepared team will win. 
"Thank God, I’ve won most of the derbies I’ve played in, had more victories, which is a positive for me," he added.

"As I said before, my memories of derbies were that all of them were decided by small details. Like all games, concentration and focus are important in derbies, so levels need to be consistent. I’m happy to have had this experience of playing in derbies as it helps in future derby games. 

"I remember [for the Milan derby], I was in the hotel the day before, really looking forward to the game. I came on about 20 or 25 minutes into the second half. It was at the Giuseppe Meazza, the San Siro Stadium. It was a very special moment for me, even more so with the victory, it was really worth it.  

"I’ve watched the [Manchester] derby on a few occasions, including last season when United won. I’ve got really good expectations. We’d obviously prefer to have our fans in the stadium with us, to drive us on and motivate us, but our expectations are great as we know the quality of our team, we know the quality of the opposition as well, that’s why we'll go into the game strong and focused on doing our best."

The one Telles had waited for


The sound of the Stone Roses was entirely appropriate, reports Mark Froggatt, as Alex made his anticipated home debut.

Looking back on his time as a Red so far, Telles spoke of his pride at pulling on the United shirt for the first time and feeling at home in Manchester from the off.

"I think I would sum up my first months as a quick and efficient adaptation," he insisted. "As soon as I arrived at the club, I had two scheduled trips away with the Brazilian national team. Then there was house-hunting and settling in with the team together with the difficult games every 3/4 days.

"I see these first months as a period of adapting, but an efficient one. I feel good, I’m increasingly integrated with the team and the club and I’m really happy. It’s been one of the very best decisions in my life.
"I think I noticed about the club first was the structure definitely, the grandeur of United, just looking at the club badge with its weight and history, the players that have played here. It’s a source of pride for me and also great motivation to follow in the footsteps of former players."