The Sandpit interrupted Port captain David Rochela’s holiday this week to get his thoughts on the club’s 2017 season, and found him in good spirits, having led the team to a top-half finish, won the Sandpit’s coveted Player of the Year award, and, best of all, signed a new contract at the PAT for 2018! Here’s what David had to say.
Port had a very strong finish to the season to end up in 9th place, a great achievement for a promoted team. How satisfied are you with the season?
The season was great! I think we did some amazing games that the fans will not forget. So I’m very satisfied about the year. The change from T2 to T1 didn’t feel that big and I think that we proved it. In my opinion we did really a great performance this season, proving that we can fight with all teams even coming up from T2.
The team suffered a mid-season slump when Jadet was replaced with Zico. How did this disrupt the team? What is it that has made Jadet so successful at Port?
Usually when you change something in one club you need time to adapt. With Zico we tried to do it as fast as we could but it was not enough.
And about Jadet…probably the key is that he works but is very close to the players, doing jokes and being one of us. The atmosphere is the key point.
What was the team’s best performance of the season in your opinion?
We did some amazing games this season but I will choose both games against Muangthong for what they mean to our fans. The feeling was amazing. I was a little bit sad because our fans couldn’t watch it live, but we know that for them it is the most important game of the season.
Which team was the toughest to play against? Which player was the most difficult opponent?
This season clearly Bangkok United, it was difficult for us this time but we will improve to face them next year! As for opponents, difficult to say…Chanatip, Diogo, Boskovic… there are many good players in T1.
Which of your teammates impressed you most this season? Who surprised you? Who would you say is the players’ player of the season?
I knew the potential of all of them but probably Nitipong is who moved his level higher during this season. Butour success this season came from a strong group so is difficult to say one: maybe Nitipong, Suarez, Josimar or Pakorn.
What was your personal favourite moment of the season?
My favourite one was the game against Supanburi at home. That day was my birthday, we won and all the fans gave me an amazing birthday gift by singing for me. A really special day!
And you were also voted The Sandpit’s Player of the Year again!
What were your biggest disappointments this season?
We really had a lot of intention to do well in the cups so I have to choose the game with Air Force.
Next season will be tougher with 5 teams going down. What are Port’s ambitions for 2018? Where do you need to improve?
As I always said, the first goal must be to put 5 teams down and after that, try to have a relaxed and gratifying season as this one. We need to improve for sure, we need stay more compact in some moments of the game and keep more balanced in order to concede less goals.
And finally, the question everyone is asking – will you still be a Port player in 2018?
I will be at Port FC next year yes, and I’m very happy for that!
Thanks as ever to David for answering our questions, and see you in a Port shirt again in 2018! Enjoy your holiday!