The Odisha FC boss also said praised his team’s effort in the previous game.

Odisha FC hope to get back to winning ways in the Indian Super League (ISL) when they face a high-flying ATK Mohun Bagan side on Thursday. Josep Gombau’s side saw their impressive winning run halted by a damning loss to FC Goa and aim to restart their title-challenge aspirations by defeating the Mariners.

Gombau hoping to get back to winning ways

The Spanish mentor was disappointed to see his side lose to Goa, even though he felt they performed well, and is hoping for a better result against the Mariners. He said: “We take it one game at a time. Tomorrow is a very important game for us playing at home against a very good opposition like ATK Mohun Bagan.

“We were beaten comprehensively against Goa, but the result wasn’t on our side as we went down to 10 men and then ended up losing. But the performance of the team and the way we approached with 10 men, I’m satisfied with the work the players did. I hope we have the same hunger tomorrow and get a big result at home,” he added.

Updates on Crespo and Nandha replacement

Josep Gombau also opened up on how he hopes to find a replacement for the suspended Nandhakumar Sekar and the fitness of Saul Crespo. He explained:

“We have different options and different players to use in this position. We are training and thinking deeply about who will replace Nandha, but it’s something we can only see tomorrow in the stadium.

 “Saul suffered a small injury against Goa. We are checking if he can be available for tomorrow’s match or how fit he is. Let’s see if he can help us win the game,” he opined.

Clarification on Isak Vanlalruetfela situation

Odisha FC announced on Tuesday that young midfielder Isak Vanlalruetfela has gone back home for personal reasons. Explaining more about this, Gombau said: “Isak is a young talented player and we see a bright future for him. He’s a player whom I like a lot and I feel he has a lot of potentials.

“He spoke with us and for personal reasons, he asked to go back to his home for a while to try and fix some difficulties that he and his family have in this moment. From the club, we support him and we give him permission and we hope he can solve this problem soon and come back to us as soon as he can,” he added.

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Can Odisha maintain their perfect home record against ATKMB?

Odisha FC have won all their four home games this season. When asked if he feels they can keep this run going against a tough side like ATKMB, the tactician explained: “I think it’ll be a difficult game and a very equal game as the ISL games are, especially for us. We’re working hard trying to have a good game. If we can control the small details by which the games are decided by.

“The small details, last week, for example, the game was very equal and we controlled the game in the first half but when we got down to 10 men the details changed the game. I feel like small details can change the game and I hope the details are in our side and we can win the game tomorrow. Tomorrow is a big game against a very good team that we respect a lot, but we also want to compete against them and try to beat them,” he further exclaimed.

No special plans to deal with the Mariners

Josep Gombau also dismissed claims that he might have any special strategy to defeat the Mariners on Thursday, saying: “We have our own way to play the games and the kind of football that we play. Every single game, depending on the opposition, we make small medications.

“These medications mean tweaking our build-up play style with our movements to make it easier to have the ball and create chances depending on how the opposition team defends. Also, the way we press depends on how the opposition team is structured. But the philosophy, the way we play and our mentality remain the same. We always have the same way to approach games,” he opined.

Thoughts on Odisha’s chances of making playoffs

Finally, when asked if there is now belief in his Odisha FC squad that they can make the ISL playoffs for the first time in the club’s history, the Spaniard said: “We go one game at a time. We don’t see the table or if we are close to playoffs. Our approach is not like this. After tomorrow, we’ll have 11 games to go and we’ll be at the halfway of the league. After tomorrow, we’ll have played five games at home and five away. I hope we can win tomorrow, but every single game is important against every single team.

“This is the way we approach every game. It’s important to get three points and then we look at the other matches until the end of the season. When the season finishes, we’ll see where we are and I hope we can get a playoff spot. It’s something nice. It’s our aim and something the club has never achieved. We’d like to be at the playoffs,” he finished with.

Jerry Mawihmingthanga’s comments

Odisha winger Jerry Mawihmingthanga also joined his head coach at the press conference.

He opened up on what difference he feels in playing under Gombau now as compared to his first stint a few years ago. He said: “I’m more involved in the attack inside the box now than I was then. This is what he wants me to do, which I maybe didn’t do when he was initially here. I think this has helped me get more opportunities to score.”

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