Barcelona goalkeeper Jose Pinto says that reading self-help books have kept him focused during long spells on the bench, meaning he is now fully prepared to cover for the injured Victor Valdes.
Valdes is to miss six weeks after tearing a calf muscle with Spain last week, and Pinto stepped in to keep a clean sheet in Saturday’s routine 4-0 Primera Division win against Granada at the Camp Nou.
The veteran keeper, 38, has regularly played Copa del Rey games during his first six seasons at Barca, but has made just 24 Primera Division or Champions League appearances over that time, usually in games with little on the line.
But the former Celta Vigo player told Barca TV programme 'El Mirador' that reading popular psychology literature has helped him to deal with long spells without playing.
“Football is never easy,” Pinto said. “I spent nine-and-a-half years at Vigo and that was never easy. I earned the starting spot with a lot of work and effort. At Barcelona the same, I have been a substitute for a long time.
“But self-help books have been a big support for me -- they have given me a philosophy of life which allows me to accept a lot of time on the bench without lowering my aims. Nothing is ever easy, but there is a path to follow and you must enjoy it.”
The Andalucian was largely untroubled on his first appearance of the season against Granada on Saturday.
“I am happy with the small part I was able to play in the win,” he said. “I know it will be tough to take over from Valdes, but I think I did OK. I dealt aright with the few things I had to do. Playing gives you confidence.”
Barring any injury, Pinto should now play in seven more games before the Spanish season’s winter break -- including Champions League matches at Ajax and at home to Celtic, and the La Liga clashes at Athletic Bilbao next Sunday and at home to in-form Villarreal on Dec. 14.
“This is the longest run that I have had at Barcelona,” he said. “I am going into it excited to train and do as well as possible.”
The ultimate goal was to earn an extension to his current Barca contract which ends next June, Pinto said.
“I do not spend energy thinking about that, I just concentrate on training,” he said. “Of course I would like to stay, because I like it here, but I must just focus on the day-to-day.”