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Every game now is final for us, says Odisha FC head coach Josep Gombau

Published at :January 14, 2023 at 6:52 AM
Modified at :December 13, 2023 at 1:01 PM
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(Courtesy : ISL Media)

Souvari Paul

The Juggernauts tactician also spoke about the sudden dip in his team's performances in recent games.

After getting back to winning ways by defeating East Bengal in their last game at home, Odisha FC will visit Bengaluru to take on the Blues on Saturday. Even though the win has taken them to the fifth position, it is still essential for Josep Gombau's men to get another three points to further cement their place among the top-six.

Prior to the game, Odisha FC head coach Josep Gombau and midfielder Victor Rodriguez attended the pre-match press conference. Edited excerpts from the conference are as follows.

Going into Saturday's game on back of a win

Odisha FC were on a four-match winless run before beating East Bengal in their last game. Gombau talked about the same and emphasised on the importance of that much-needed win. He said, "The last game was very good. We are very happy with the result that we got. Now, it is time to face a new challenge, go to Bengaluru and get a positive result.

"The team is training very well and we are all focused. It is a game that we will have before getting a small gap. We want to have a good result and get some rest. We go game by game. We are approaching Saturday's game with a strong and positive mentality to try and get a good result."

Tackling Bengaluru FC

Josep Gombau expressed his thoughts on Bengaluru FC and stated his approach in tackling the Blues. He said, "Every game is totally different. For sure, Bengaluru FC have a very strong squad. They will be playing at home in front of fans. Every single game in this league is very equal. For sure we will have our moments when we can damage them and get a good result.

"This is the mentality that the team has. We want to approach them in the manner in which we approach every single game. We will try to press the opposition team. This is our aim: to go there and have a good game."

Importance of winning Saturday's game

Gombau admitted that Saturday's game is of immense importance for Odisha FC in their bid to finish among the top six. He further stated that all of their subsequent games are essential for having a good season. He stated, "For sure every game from here till the end will be very important. Every game has the same value, three points. We will focus on the game that is in front of us now, i.e. against Bengaluru FC.

"It is also true that in two weeks' time, we will play ATK Mohun Bagan and then FC Goa. I believe we have seven finals, and we will go game by game. If we win three to four of these games, we will surely be in the playoffs."

Thoughts on performance of Nandha Kumar Sekar, Diego Mauricio, and Saul Crespo

Gombau expressed his thoughts on Nandha, Mauricio, and Crespo and their role in the team. At the same time, he also stated that all the members of his squad are important for the team to achieve success.

About Nandha, he said, "Of course, Nandha will be a key player on Saturday, especially with the way we use our wingers in attacking moves. Nandha is a very important player for us. I am happy with his performance. I think in Saturday's game he will have a big role as will all of his teammates who will be on the pitch. For me, the team is more important than the individuals. But Nandha is an experienced player already and a very important player for us."

Regarding Mauricio, Josep Gombau said, "Diego is very important. He is our top-form player at this moment. He is also very hungry, which is very good. He was upset with me when I changed him in the last game. This shows how hungry he is. I want him to use this hunger on Saturday and score again for the team."

The tactician added the following while talking about Crespo, "Saul is a very important player for us. He is a player who did very well before his injury. In the first game he played after injury, the team won again. This means that he did very well. But also, I am happy to have him back. He is a player who brings a lot to both attack and defence. I hope he can keep up his good performance until the end of the year."

Why Odisha FC's performance dipper despite good start to the season?

Josep Gombau stated his reasons for the dip in Odisha's performance during their winless run. He refuted the claim that his team played poorly in those games.

He said, "I think we are a very good team. At this moment we are in a good spot. All the eleven teams of the league are very equal. We have started a new project. I came here just five/six months ago. We brought in many new players and it was a completely new team from before. Still, we are doing very well."

The Spaniard continued, "We are working hard to play good football, which is not easy. This is because most of the clubs are working for a very long time. We want to get to the playoffs, which is something for which we are working. After that, from then on, we will try to compete to be at the top. I don't see any problem. I see we are having a good season. We have to realise that our club is relatively new and there are other big clubs in the country."

Victor on his experience of playing in India

Victor Rodriguez talked about his experience of being in India. He stated, "I am happy to be here. I am happy to enjoy the football of the Indian Super League. I believe the level of the league is quite good. I am happy to be here and give my 100 percent to my team."

Victor's thoughts on quality of ISL

Victor expressed his feelings on the quality of the ISL. He said, "I think the league is growing very well. This year, I think there are many good teams, making it a very competitive league. As the coach told, every game is very equal and there are a lot of chances for both teams in every game. So, I like this league, I am happy to be here playing for Odisha."