I slip into depression if I don’t get to play: Chhetri
"I was disappointed playing just five matches in six months and that too not starting. I go into depression if I don't get to play," Chhetri said here on Friday about his stint in Portugal, referring to his rare appearances.
"For me it's very important to play matches at this stage of my career, I am not 19 now."
I-League club Churchill Brothers had in February signed Chhetri on loan from Sporting Lisbon for four months.
The 28-year-old striker had signed a two-year contract in July last year that would keep him with the Lisbon club till June 2014.
But Chhetri, a former Kansas City striker, found it hard to break into the ranks and spent most of the time warming the bench in the Liga de Honra, which is the second division Portuguese league.
"I am on loan and discussions are on as far as my going back to Sporting is concerned," he said.
Meanwhile, Chhetri felt Bhaichung Bhutia's appointment as head of the technical committee in the All India Football Federation (AIFF) is a positive development.
"I am very happy for Bhaichung and he has always been inspirational. His presence in the AIFF will definitely make a huge difference. At such a tender age he is already running a club (Sikkim United)."
Talking about the race between Churchill and East Bengal heating up in the I-League, Chhetri said his team is taking it one match at a time.
"I want to win the race. We have got a huge match against Dempo on April 17. We are taking one match at a time, we have got a good team. Beto is a huge loss, we are also missing Tomba (Singh). We have got a very good bench strength and we are geared up for the match," he said.
"We are only concentrating on what we have to do. We are very excited and optimistic. It won't be difficult for us to reach the final stage," said Chhetri.
Asked about playing under technical director Subhash Bhowmick, he said, "I have played under him in the past so it's easier for me."
Reminded about the failure to qualify for the finals of the AFC Challenge Cup, Chhetri said, "This was a huge disappointment. If you see the recording we have missed five chances against Myanmar. We have to blame ourselves."
Chhetri said adding two more teams to the I-League from next season is "going to be good".
"More the number of teams, the better will be the league," he said during a promotional event.
And as far as introducing salary cap was concerned, he said, "It depends on the league, the AIFF. It's a bit tricky."
Asked about the recent controversy over him being denied visa to travel to Singapore for an AFC Cup match, Chhetri said that was "strange and weird".
"That was very strange and weird. It was not at all football friendly for me and Bilal (Arezou), playing match after reaching at 9 am. I don't want to use this as an excuse but with I-League also happening at the same time, playing match after match regularly is difficult," said Chhetri.
Coming back to Sporting, he said, "It is one of the top clubs as far as youth development is concerned. There are 5 to 6 players in A side who often come and play in the B side."
Asked what was the difference between his stints in the US and Portugal, Chhetri said, "This time it was much better…I was better prepared, and richer in experience."
There will no English sides in the Champions League semis this time, but Chhetri said it was just a one year thing.
"I still believe EPL is one of the best leagues in the world. There are no English teams in the Champions League because I think the four semifinalists have played brilliant football. It's just a one year thing."
Chhetri said, Given a chance, he would love to play for "Barcelona under Pep Guardiola".