Dougie link-up key to switch
ANDRE Moritz has opened up about his decision to shun Premier League glory with Crystal Palace in favour of the Championship grind at Wanderers.
A calf injury has prevented Whites fans from seeing the best of the Samba playmaker since he arrived on a free transfer at the start of last month.
But after turning down time off to undergo extra strength training sessions in the last few weeks the 27-year-old is hoping to be back firing on all cylinders once the league programme reconvenes a week tomorrow against Leeds United.
Moritz has forged an interesting career path since breaking through in Brazilian football for Internacional and Fluminense, where past players have included greats of the South American game such as Rivelinho, Gerson and Edinho.
He then spent five years playing for unfashionable Turkish outfit Mersin, where he achieved massive cult status with the Istanbul fans, before moving to England with Dougie Freedman’s Palace via a failed deal with Rangers.
Moritz helped the Eagles to success in the play-offs last season and looked all set to sign a 12-month contract at Selhurst Park to try his hand at the Premier League.
Speaking for the first time about his reasons for walking out on Palace to rejoin Freedman at the Reebok, Moritz admitted his mind was changed in a late chat with manager Ian Holloway.
“With Palace, just after the play-off final, I had agreed with the chairman and Ian Holloway to set everything up for the next season,” he said. “I went back to Brazil and had my holidays.
“Palace I felt home. That was the thing about the team there last season, they were almost like family.
“When I came back I went in to sign the deal but had a last-minute meeting with Ian Holloway and he started to explain how he would play this season. He said he would not use a number 10 or a playmaker and he wanted to chase the ball. That is not the kind of player I am.
“I didn’t see myself playing very much in his team and he was very honest. I appreciated that from him.
“He said I would be a good player to be on the bench but for me that was not enough.
“It was a surprise. Even my agent was outside the door and asked when I left ‘have you signed?’ and I said ‘no’ and walked through the doors.
“Of course, my first option was to work with Dougie again. I had four months with him and we were not only successful on the pitch but it’s pleasurable to work with him because he keeps you on your toes.
“I phoned him and said I wanted to play for you again. I’m glad it happened.”
It was not the first time Moritz’s career had changed paths so dramatically. A year earlier he was close to signing on the dotted line for Rangers in the Scottish Third Division only to make a late U-turn.
“Rangers had just been relegated because they were bankrupt,” he said. “Going there would have been like being part of a massive objective, to take them back into the Premier League in Scotland.
“I wanted to go there and they sent me the flight tickets. When I got there the manager liked me right away and said to go and sort a contract but when I went into the chairman’s office he said to get a contract I should go and play a game.
“I was not free in that window because I had nowhere to go, I just wanted to be part of something bigger. When I got there I was being treated as a trialist so I packed my things and moved.
“On my way back to London to get a plane back to Brazil I got a call from Dougie Freedman to come to Crystal Palace for a few days. After that I signed a deal.”
Things at the Reebok have not gone exactly according to plan – where even the attacker’s move was thrown into disarray at one point as Wanderers tried to muster the cash to fund the deal.
Results so far have also been well below par but that is something Moritz is sure will soon improve.
“We know a club as big as Bolton can’t be in this situation,” he said. “We need to be fighting at the top.
“We do have pride and we do want to be a good team. I didn’t come to Bolton to be near Manchester or play in the north of England, I came here to get the club back into the Premier League.
“That is where a big club with all these facilities must be.”