By Omar Shahid
3 Mar 2011 23:45:00
Nani celebrates Manchester United’s winner against Stoke City (Getty Images)
The Portuguese winger has markedly improved from United’s last campaign and is now seeing tangible rewards after scoring 10 league goals as well as providing 15 assists this term.
But the 24-year-old has conceded his superstitious side after admitting he wears part of his kit differently to his Old Trafford team-mates.
“The first time it happened was an accident,” Nani told the Daily Mirror.
“It was a new kit and I didn’t know which way I was meant to put them on.
“I realised I’d got it wrong when I saw everybody else had the Nike logo facing the front. But then when it came to the next game, I thought: ‘No, I might wear mine like this again.’
“Since then, it’s become something of a superstition.
Nani is adamant his individual form will account for nothing if United slip towards the end of the season and fail to win the Premier League. But the winger maintains he is enjoying life at the club.
“I’m really happy, but it’s what I do from now until the end of the season that really counts,” he said.
“Everything I do now has the potential to be very important – to play a big role in helping us to hopefully win the league.
“I want to give my best and keep performing. I feel great that, so far this season, I’ve been able to help my team a lot but that won’t mean anything if we’re not successful.
“Some people are saying I’m one of the most important players in the team, somebody who can provide a bit of magic, but I still think I can improve certain aspects of my game and I’d like to score more goals and create more chances.”
Nani also believes the reintroduction of fellow winger, Antonio Valencia, will be a welcome boost to United’s title run-in and the Portuguese international has no preference to the side he plays on once the Ecuadorian returns from injury.
“To tell you the truth, it’s no easier for me on the right than it is on the left,” said Nani.
“When I play on the left everybody expects me to cut inside onto my right foot.
“Because they expect me to do that it means that sometimes I can surprise them and go on the outside and use my left foot to cross.
“It doesn’t matter to me which side I play on because I’m confident of beating my opponent on either side and I can cross and shoot with both feet.
“Antonio’s return will be fantastic for the team because at this stage of the season we need all our big players fit. Also, he will be another option going forward.
“In recent months I’ve often been the only wide player in the team so a lot of our play ends up going through me and I create a lot of chances for the team.
“Sometimes that’s difficult. Some days not everything works for me and on other days the opposition might double up on me. The more players we have that can produce a little bit of skill or a great cross for the strikers, the better that is for the team.”
Although Nani has won the Premier League with United twice already, the winger recollects the disappointment of last summer after Chelsea won the title, and insists that is a motivation tool during his side’s run-in.
“We want to win the league every season,” said Nani.
“You don’t get tired of winning trophies. Last season, when I went on my holidays, the first week I couldn’t stop thinking about how we lost out in the league to Chelsea.
“Thankfully there was the World Cup soon afterwards so I had something else to look forward to [even though Nani missed it through injury].
“This year there’s no World Cup, so I know it could be a very long summer.
“I don’t want that to happen – I want to be on holiday with a big smile because I’ve won at least one trophy.”