The Odisha FC head coach also heaped praise on his team’s mentality.

After registering two back-to-back wins, Odisha FC are set to return to the pitch on Friday against a hapless NorthEast United at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar. While Odisha are currently in the third position on the ISL points table with 15 points, NorthEast United are languishing at the bottom with no points from seven games. Josep Gombau’s side will definitely look to get all three points from an out-of-form opponent to continue their pursuit of a top-of-the-table finish by the end of the season.

A day before the game, Odisha FC head coach Josep Gombau addressed the pre-match press conference. Here is what he had to say before the fixture.

Approach towards the game

Gombau informed how his team is approaching the upcoming game against NorthEast United. He praised NorthEast’s previous performances and said that he expects the game to be difficult. He quoted:

“We have a lot of respect for NorthEast. In their last games, they played quite well. In their last two games, they faced very strong opponents, ATK Mohun Bagan and Mumbai. In certain moments, they have been very good. They were drawing until the last moment (against ATK Mohun Bagan). It is something that we have in our minds.

He added, “Every single game in this league is difficult. As I said, out of respect for them, we will take this game as we take every single game. We are training very seriously and the boys are working very hard. I expect an equal game tomorrow. We want to win. We need to work hard and be consistent.”

On the team’s strong winning mentality

Odisha FC’s character has been getting praise from multiple sources right from their first game of the season in which they registered a comeback against reigning ISL Shield winners Jamshedpur FC. Since then, the team has continued showcasing such a mentality in many games. Josep Gombau expressed his thoughts on the same:

“As a team, we always try to lead a game and win. But sometimes, it is not possible as the league is very equal. We are winning games because we have this strong mentality. We fight until the end. We are coming back into games late because we have this mentality and spirit to win every game. We can assure you that we will work hard until the final whistle in every game.”

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On the key players’ strong impact in every game

According to Gombau, the whole team is playing well and it is very difficult for him to attribute the side’s success to any particular player. At the same time, he also praised players like Nandhakumar Sekar and Jerry Mawihmingthanga for their dedication and hard work in all the games. He said:

“I think we do not think to describe Nandha as a player. He is a good player and is doing well. The way we play football with open wingers has allowed him to show his true potential. He is in good form because the rest of the team is also performing well. When the team is doing well you have more such situations where the wingers and strikers can have more chances.

“I am happy with him, with the team, and also with Jerry because they are not just working with the ball. They are also working hard off-the-ball, in defence, and while pressing high. All of the team is doing well and it is very difficult for me to point out any single player as it is the team that enables an individual to flourish,” he opined.

(On Amrinder)

The tactician also stated how Amrinder has been instrumental to his side’s superb run in the league so far. He said, “It is very important for us to have a goalkeeper of his quality. He brings a lot of security to the backline. This is something that is helping us a lot. He has experience, everybody respects him, and right from the first day, he has shown his dedication to something special this year.”

On the impact of the new signings

Josep Gombau said that most of the new signings of the team have been paying dividends for the club. He said that all the players, including both old and new recruits, have contributed to creating a very healthy environment at the club. He stated:

“We have a very good squad. The new players have been very good additions to it. The players who have come from overseas like Saul (Crespo), Victor (Rodriguez), Diego (Mauricio), Pedro (Martin), etc. are fantastic. It is not just what they bring to the field, but they also contribute to the good environment we have at the club. You can see this reflects in how we play on the field and how we celebrate goals together. The environment of the team is good. We are working together. We also have good communication between the coaching staff and the players. We need to maintain this until the end.”

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