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Carlos Pena: Whoever replaces Edu Bedia will have a big game

Published at :December 10, 2022 at 1:24 AM
Modified at :December 13, 2023 at 1:01 PM
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(Courtesy : ISL Media)

Uttiyo Sarkar

The FC Goa tactician also heaped praise upon youngster Ayush Chhetri.

FC Goa will look to end their two-game losing streak in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 when they host Odisha FC on Saturday. Carlos Pena's side desperately need a win to get back to the playoffs race, knowing that another loss can dent their hopes of a top-4 finish. One day prior to the fixture, head coach Carlos Pena addressed the media.

Here's what he had to say.

Carlos Pena confident of his side’s ability to turn things around

Head coach Carlos Pena is definitely worried about his side’s current form, but believes in their ability to turn things around. He said in the pre-match press conference:

“Yes, of course, we’re not happy with the last two games. The games were really different. In the Bengaluru game they defended really well and we had troubled creating chances. But the result would’ve been very different if we scored, but that didn’t happen. In the Mumbai game, they were better in some phases of the game. We had a very good first half, but in the second half, we were outclassed.

“There haven’t been good times for us in the last 10 games, but we need to improve from that. I said that after winning games we don’t have to think about the past and we have to think about the last one. I even stated after the ATK Mohun Bagan game that we shouldn’t consider ourselves as the champions or that we are the best team. The current moment isn’t easy for us, but I trust 100% in my team and staff and I’m sure we will be able to show what we can show tomorrow,” he added.

Approach against Odisha FC

When asked about what his side’s approach will be to deal with the dangerous Odisha FC side, the Spaniard stated: “Our idea, I’ve said from the first day, is to be the same as always. We’re going to play with our style, try to dominate the game and create chances. We’ll try to be solid in defence and that has to be our main objective for tomorrow. In the last two games, we’ve conceded six goals and for a team that wants to be in the first position, that isn’t acceptable. This is our main goal for tomorrow, we need to be consistent and of course, we’ll go for the team, we’ll adjust some things that need to be adjusted. With our style and mentality, we’ll try to beat them.”

He also had plenty of praises for the Odisha FC side, but hinted that his side has a similar level of quality too. Pena said: “I told the players that Odisha has a very good team. They’re a team with great energy and strong character. They have the respect of everyone because they’re having very good results, they are having great comebacks. I like the way they play and the energy and consistency they’ve scored. But we’re not so far from them. Tomorrow is a day to focus on ourselves and recover our soul again to try and get three points.”

How can FC Goa cope without Edu Bedia?

FC Goa will be without captain Edu Bedia, who was suspended in the Mumbai City game. Speaking about his side’s plans to cope without him, the Spaniard explained: “Edu is a big loss for us. Mostly because I miss one more option to choose. We know the influence he has in our game. But I trust my squad 100% and I’m sure the players who play in his position will have a big game. Maybe I’ll find some other options. We’re thinking still about how we’ll play and the starting XI for the game. I believe 100% in the players we’ll use tomorrow because we’ve shown that we can play well with any player.”

Praise for Ayush Chhetri

The Gaurs’ head coach also gave a lot of praise to young midfielder Ayush Chhetri for his performances this season, saying:  “I think Ayush has deserved his minutes from pre-season. He had many chances in pre-season and played very good friendly games. He showed me that he wanted to be with us. He didn’t start the opening ISL games, but the time I gave him, he took advantage of that. When he has been given the chance to play in the starting XI, he has proven that he deserves it. He’s a very good player who tries to understand the game.

“He’s paying attention every day, every order I’m giving which he’ll try to apply in the pitch. That is the most important thing for the player in his position. If a midfielder doesn’t understand the game or doesn’t understand what the coach asks from him, I think he’ll be a worse player than the player that understands. He’s a guy who at the age of 18 has a good personality. Of course, he has to improve many things, but luckily he has time and the passion to work on improving.

“I hope he has a bright future and he keeps on showing every day that he deserves the minutes he’s getting," he concluded.

Ayush Chhetri’s comments

Ayush Chhetri accompanied his gaffer to the press conference. He spoke about how the transition from playing in the I-League last season to the ISL in this campaign has been: “Yes, for me, the players in ISL are technically really good and because of that it makes it easier for me to play in the competition. The intensity of the I-League is higher and in the ISL the intensity is a little bit slow.”

Chhetri also credited his love for football and ability to play so well to his inspirational father, stating: “My father used to play football and from a young age I used to follow him. I used to go wherever he went to play. I found my motivation for football from my father. He liked the game a lot and loved to play it.”