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Fred: Keep a cool head

“I’m a striker, but my goalscoring record is terrible because I always let defenders get in my head. How do you stay cool?”
Jacob Magnussen, via email

Fred says:

“I used to be very hot-tempered, but now I’m calmer, meaning defenders respect me more. They know I’m experienced and can’t get a rise out of me.

I used to get elbowed and punched, but it doesn’t happen now, except in the Copa Libertadores.

I enter every game in this cup working on my emotional side, trying not to react. I enjoy the game when it is physical, but striking and spitting at a player are things I don’t accept anymore.

The best way to fight back is to beat them with the ball. I punish them in the box by anticipating crosses and drop-downs.

While they concentrate on trying to wind me up, I focus on finding space, receiving the ball and turning and shooting.

That said, quick defenders still make me suffer. Just when you think you are past them and are about to shoot they get back and nick it away!”

For more football tips see:
Dealing with the red mist
How to deal with a mouthy player
How to deal with a wind-up merchant
Mikel Arteta: Handling a hatchet man