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I've been to hell & Boc!

Byline: Steve Bates

EVERTON defender Ramiro Funes Mori reckons the intensity and pressure of the Premier League is a breeze after the madness of Argentina's most hateful derby.

Argentinian star Funes Mori, signed from River Plate in a PS10million deal on deadline day, has quickly taken to life in English football. And he puts it all down to his experience of crazy derbies against Boca Juniors in Buenos Aires, which are more like war zones than games of football.

Funes Mori, who scored the winning goal for River Plate away at Boca in one of those battles, talked to Manchester City stars Pablo Zabaleta and Martin Demichelis before coming to England. But it was his own experiences at River Plate which have proved even more valuable.

Pressure "I spoke to Pablo and Martin and still do. They told me about everything - the speed and intensity of games in England," says the 24-year-old centre-back.

"I try to get their advice and be really fit all the time. But the football here hasn't the pressure of football in Argentina. In the Mersey derby against Liverpool recently I felt the pressure but it's a good pressure.

"In Argentina they overexcite their fans. I scored the winner at Boca and it was an incredible game especially as we played away.

"There were no River Plate fans because there are no away fans allowed. They always fight against each other. So, there were maybe 45,000 people against 11 people and five on the bench.

When I scored I screamed and I could only hear myself and my team-mates. The rest of the stadium hated me.

"Once you've experienced that then you can be prepared for anything, even the Liverpool game."

Funes Mori, who won this year's Copa Libertadores with River Plate, has recently broken into the Argentina squad but he is still surprised to be getting game time so quickly in the Premier League. "Unfortunately with Phil Jagielka being out for two months, I have to be ready for this moment. I have to adapt very quickly. It's a hard league. Intense, with very fast players. I'm adapting myself and hopefully it will go very well.

"I made my debut in the win against Chelsea then I played against Liverpool, which is a hard game. I didn't think I'd play that quickly but you have to be ready."

Funes Mori was brought up in Dallas with his twin brother Rogelio, who plays for Mexican club Monterrey. Being able to speak English has helped him.

"I lived in Texas for nine years and I have adapted quicker because of my English," he added.

"It is a big advantage to communicate with the players, the manager and when I go out to shops."

CAPTION(S):

CRAZY: Nothing surprises Funes after the madness at Boca Juniors

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Nov 1, 2015
Words:469
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