After Lincoln’s loss to Drita last Friday, we caught up with goalkeeper Manuel ‘Lolo’ Soler to get his reaction on the game and his terrific season as Imps’ number one.
For many others in the Lincoln team, it was Lolo’s debut in the Champions League – we asked the goalkeeper how it felt playing, “It was something special, few have the opportunity to play this type of games during their sporting career. I had my family in the stands watching me and enjoying this experience also. The negative is that we have not been able to continue in the competition.”
After conceding in the opening five minutes, Lincoln took the game to extra-time and eventually lost 4-1 with both teams having a player sent off. Lolo gave us his thoughts on the game, “I think the team played a very complete game, it is true that in the first part it took us a bit to find spaces and generate opportunities, but during the whole game we competed at a very high level. We left all our effort on the pitch and I think our fans noticed it.”
Gibraltar hosted the first ever UEFA Champions League preliminary tournament which meant the winners (Drita) would progress and the losers (Lincoln, Santa Coloma & La Fiorita) move to the UEFA Europa League. We asked Lolo how he felt about the new rule, “Anything which means advancing in European competitions is a great idea. It is new opportunity to compete at the highest level and demonstrate that the league in Gibraltar is improving every year.”
Lolo enjoyed a triumphant season and was a deserved winner of the FG Player of the Season & Goalkeeper of the Season which was announced earlier last month. The former Real Balompedica Linense keeper reflected on his first season as Lincoln’s number one, “Thank you, Football Gibraltar. I always try to give my best for the team. My first season as a starter has been fantastic; we won the League, Pepe Reyes Cup and I debuted in the Champions League – what more could you want. This club has given me a lot of love and confidence from the first day which has reflected on the pitch. I hope to give Lincoln back everything they are giving me with hard work and good performances.”
Photo by William Gracia.