Andre Gomes signed a permanent deal with Everton because the club gave him back his belief.
The midfielder last week completed a £22million move from Barcelona, surprising many by choosing to walk away from a potential Champions League winner to a club that’s not even in Europe next season.
Yet he says a season’s loan at Goodison last term rekindled his love for the game.
“My first year at Barcelona was good, but the second was difficult — and the problem was with me,” said Portugal international Gomes. “It was the pressure and expectation I put on myself, not the expectations of the fans or the club. When I spoke to Marco [Silva, the Everton manager] the first time, before I came on loan, I wanted to feel more capable again.
“The problem is the expectations on yourself and how you are not capable of doing something when you are not at that level. I wanted to try to be myself, to do the simple things. I’m glad I accepted that loan because now I feel really good. That is why I have signed.”
Gomes made more than 60 appearances for Barcelona in his two years at the club but he never really settled.
“Barca is a massive club with a different kind of pressure,” he said. “It’s not easy – only a few players who Barcelona sign stay there for a long time.
“Right now, the big difference is the way I enjoy the simple things: the training sessions, times I’m with my team-mates in the hotel, times I’m with my family, the games. It’s all about enjoying it more. When you are happy you will give your best and perform at a high level.”
Like many players at the top level, Gomes has sought help to handle the mental demands and believes that has helped turn him into a more experienced player.
“It’s not a big deal to have someone close to talk to, someone neutral who knows you have pressure,” he said.
“If I need to talk about different things I can do so with a specialist.”
Now, he will use his positive mindset to try to help Everton fulfil their European qualification dreams: “The main goal for the team is to be in Europe and it has to be my mindset, too.”