I started out at big club with 20million fans where I learned how to handle pressure… and watching Netflix also helped

GABRIEL SARA has been watching Losers to help make him become a winner at Norwich.

The Brazilian midfielder spent the summer checking out the Netflix documentary series that charts how sporting figures or teams cope with failure.

Norwich ace Gabriel Sara won the SkyBet Championship player of the month award

Sara fires home for Norwich against Southampton at St Mary’s

Freshly relegated from the Premier League last summer, the Canaries had an underwhelming season back in the Championship finishing 13th.

But Norwich have got off to a decent start this campaign and host Stoke today among the early pacesetters, just three points behind leaders Preston.

And Sara, 24, himself, has just been named SkyBet Championship player-of-the-month after a string of impressive performances.

He told SunSport: “We travel a lot playing football and I always keep looking for something different. 

“In my holiday I was preparing my mind for the new season. I thought as well as working my body I must work my mind to be better and I found this really good series on Netflix

“It’s important to see it because in this industry we never know how we can handle losing games and I saw a lot of different ways of handling this. I think the best way to handle it is not losing!”

One episode of the series called The Jaws of Victory tells the legendary tale of how Torquay saved their EFL status on the last day of the season and existence in 1987 thanks to one of their players, John McNichol, being bitten by a police dog called Bryn.

The dog thought McNichol was an attacker as he came advancing towards him and sank his teeth into his upper thigh. It caused the game to be delayed by four minutes — and deep into the resulting stoppage-time Torquay snatched a late 2-2 draw against Crewe.

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Sara added: “That Torquay story was so crazy and unbelievable. They would’ve been relegated had it not been for the dog biting their player.

“What was incredible also was the great celebrations after that. Although they were fighting relegation and not champions, something good can happen.”

Sara has learned about dealing with pressure from a young age — as he came through the ranks at Brazilian giants Sao Paulo, going on to make 113 appearances and scoring 17 goals.

And the midfield ace remembers having to overcome a tough start to his professional career.

He said: “They’re a huge club and have something like 20million supporters so you have to play well because if you don’t things can be really crazy. 

“For the first ten games I played really badly. But our manager at the time Fernando Diniz, who is now the Brazil national team coach,  really helped me. He and my family gave me a lot of moral support but it was so tough.

Brazil coach Fernando Diniz helped a young Gabriel Sara massively at Sao Paulo

“When you play for a huge team, they expect great things from you, and you want to give it to them. To my mind it was good because after that I was more mature.

“I’ve learnt to embrace the pressure and not think about it. 

“When you’re a kid playing football, we just enjoy it, we don’t worry about whether the other team is going to score or anything like that.

“You can’t keep playing like a kid of course, you improve and go through many steps and win games. 

“The club pays the wages but also football is a show – there are a lot of supporters watching the game and sometimes they will be happy. 

“I can see this through my dad, my dad watched every game and was sometimes depressed for the whole weekend! If we win, he will go and smoke a cigar.

“This is the same with our supporters – they will be happy for the weekend then get ready for the next game. That’s why we have to embrace the pressure and at the same time give them a good show.”

Sara heralds from a happy family background but hard life in Brazil and was motivated to change his parents’ lives by becoming a professional footballer.

He said: “I grew up as two boys and one sister and we played football together. My father was an ex-footballer, he played for small teams in Brazil, and taught us how to play football. 

“It was a good childhood. We weren’t rich but not poor. My parents worked hard so we could always have food and a roof over our heads, and I think that was an important thing. 

That Torquay story was so crazy and unbelievable. They would’ve been relegated had it not been for the dog biting their player.

GABRIEL SARA

“My mother works at a hospital and my dad used to work as a security guard, so he slept all day to work all night and that time was hard.

“Since I started playing football, I left my house aged 13 and I had to change my parents’ life. Brazil is a great country, but everyone knows how hard it can be there. 

“The beginning was tough and you must make some choices. Mine was to go far away from my family to try for my dream and give my parents a better life.

“Things are much better now thanks to football.”

Sara loves life in England and is happily settled with his girlfriend Maria.

He said: “We love the parks, we go out to the parks with my dogs. We can set them free, and they can run, it’s really nice. 

“We love to go to Cromer and have been there lots and have some friends there as well. And we like to go to London. It’s like Sao Paulo so sometimes we can feel familiar there. 

“We like to go to the restaurant ‘Sao Paulo’, it’s great! We love life here. My fiancée loves being here, my parents when they come, they love it here.

“The language was a little bit hard but even when we first came here the people are close to us and they know how it feels being from a faraway place.”

Norwich’s start under David Wagner this season has been encouraging but Sara is the first to know nothing is achieved after only one month.

PASara and Norwich have got off to a cracking start to the season[/caption]

Last season was a learning curve for the Canaries which the Brazilian believes will stand them in good stead for the rest of the season.

He said: “The hunger and desire is there and we must keep that. We cannot rest. We’ve had a great month and it’s been a good four games but must keep going.

“I’d like to think every game is a chance to be better. If we play badly in one game you know you can put it right in the next one. We must continue with this mindset.”

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