Kolkata:Bhaichung Bhutia or not, Mohun Bagan's Brazilian marksman Jose Ramirez Barreto feels there would not be any added responsibility on his shoulders in the upcoming season though he would miss his Sikkimese strike partner with whom he had struck a bonding.
Recovering from a lower right calf muscle injury he picked up while holidaying in Brazil, the most experienced Bagan striker said he hoped to start practice within a few days and get fit before the season opener IFA Shield.
On Bhutia signing for East Bengal, Barreto said in an interview, "Of course, I will miss him from the personal point of view. We shared a good rapport and were friends both on and off the field. Over the last three years, we developed perfect understanding. It's sad that he wont be there this time."
"But I have to depend on (Edeh) Chidi now. We have to bring the best out of each other. He (Chidi) is dangerous inside the box. The key would be our understanding on the field. This is one aspect we have to work on before the season starts."
Asked if he will have extra responsibility in the absence of Bhutia, Barreto said, " Always, there has been responsibility. There was a lot of expectations from me during the last season as well. I am not new to it."
"It was a bit disappointing that I could not attend the camp. We had gone to a nice place with lovely weather. It's sad that I missed out on the camp," the shy 33-year-old said about the pre-season camp held at Kalimpong where he was present.
"I am feeling better now. It was a lower calf muscle pull in the right leg while I was in Brazil. I hoped to get fit by the camp started in Kalimpong on July 31 but unfortunately I could not recover in time and did not take part in the camp as I did not take any risk," he said.
Coach Karim Bencherifa did not want to take any risk at the start of the season and asked Barreto to avail of proper medical facilities to get fully fit for the long and exhaustive I-League ahead.
Barreto returned to Kolkata on August 4 as there was speculation that he might miss out on the season opener IFA Shield that will be held from August 25-September 15. The Brazilian ace, however, hoped that he would join the team practice well in time and take part in the IFA Shield.
"The doctor (Jibak Mukherjee) has advised me full rest till Tuesday when I am scheduled to meet him again. Perhaps after Tuesday, I will start some physiotherapy and hope to hit the ground by August 15," Barreto said.
"Fortunately, the injury did not happen in the middle of the season. It would have been very frustrating then. It's a good thing that it happened before start of the season so that I have ample time in my hands to recover before a tournament.
"I still have 15 days time in my hand to get match fit before the Shield begins. Let's see what happens, it's very difficult to predict though. But there is still a lot of time to recover and I am working very hard towards it."
The Mohun Bagan squad landed in Kolkata on Saturday after the pre-season camp at the northern fringes of Kalimpong.