Premier League returned for this season after being interrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic, but with a strict closed-door policy for all their matches.
Now, players share how playing matches and then celebrating has become a different experience without fans’ presence.
Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson Santana de Moraes has little hesitation, because for the Brazilian, the competition seems to be diminishing.
“It feels amazing to be able to return, but I never felt it before,” he said to ESPN Brazil. “The match itself and the whole atmosphere sound special. It’s not the same as playing with a stadium full.
“I found the feeling of playing without fans and playing the way we played with all the precautions we took before the match, very different from the usual ones too.”
Nonetheless, holding supporters away is the correct course of action because people are already losing their lives on a regular basis to COVID-19.
Precautions about health and welfare take priority over the pomp and pageantry of matchday activities.
Burnley forward Jay Rodriguez has expressed the need for more application.
“I would lie if I claimed it was usual and everything was well because football is all about playing in front of crowds and getting pushed on by the atmosphere,” he told ESPN.
“They influence the games. So, in terms of what we had to do, we were really strict and limited in our focus. It’s something we are going to have to get used to, however, as it’s going to be here at least until the end of the season.”
Most clubs have chosen to go through their pre-match build-up’s pomp and pageantry with the large-screen action shots.
This is combined with a deafening soundtrack ringing hollow across seats adorned with season ticket holders’ material versions and poignant tributes to NHS staff.
“Of course, it doesn’t work the same,” Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud told.
“It’s very weird at first and then you begin to get used to it. This has less fun to play with no spectators. Sometimes, the field looks even smaller with no people in the arena! That’s insane to tell that it’s the same field, but it seems larger!
“So at least the managers are pleased because now, even though they don’t shout, we can actually understand what they tell us!”
Last Thursday, Liverpool won their first League championship at Anfield in 30 years. A brief snapshot of the excitement subtracted from the matchday atmosphere was given in the scenes outside Anfield.
But there is plus side for players, too. Away matches have seen lower pressure due to the absence of a home crowd dominating the stands.
The opinion of defender Harry Maguire seems to be guided by the restored confidence: “So, it takes away the home supporters who render the experience unpleasant for the team away, but it’s all for the 11 players that turn up on the day.”