The Odisha FC tactician also gave some positive team updates.

Josep Gombau’s Odisha FC are hoping to put an end to their four-match winless streak in the Indian Super League (ISL 2022-23), when they host East Bengal at the Kalinga Stadium on Saturday.

The Kalinga Warriors have experienced a dip in form after an impressive start to the season and now face the possibility of dropping out of the ISL playoff places.

Gombau explains the importance of East Bengal game

Speaking about the importance of the East Bengal game, Josep Gombau said: “Tomorrow is an important game for us. It’s a game which I tell the players because East Bengal are doing well. It’s a crucial game for us to take the next steps in good conditions. The team is working hard and we’re preparing very well for the team. It’s a Saturday evening game, so I hope people will come to the stadium and help us win the game.”

Dressing room atmosphere

When asked about what is the dressing room atmosphere after the poor run of results, the Spaniard revealed: “We are so concentrated. We know it’s an important game and the three points mean a lot to us. This is the way we’ve approached the week after our last game against Mumbai, which we lost at home. I think we played well but Mumbai was a very good side. Now it’s a moment to come back to a winning mood. That’s the aim we have. Everyone is ready to take the challenge and help us win.”

Praise for Mauricio and positive team news

Josep Gombau praised Diego Mauricio for his impressive form and tipped him to play a crucial role against the Red & Gold Brigade. He said: “We expect a lot from the players. In the last game, Diego was crucial and scored two goals. I hope he can keep this consistency tomorrow and do a good job. The important thing for the team is to score goals and win. Diego is a very important player for us and I hope tomorrow he can score goals and help us win the game.”

He also confirmed that foreign players Osama Malik and Saul Crespo are both available for the game, saying: “Both are available for tomorrow. We have an important few games ahead and they are 100% fit. We almost have everyone ready. That is very important – to have a fully fit squad and move to the next eight games which will be the most important to decide where we will be in the table at the end of the league campaign.”

Message to the fans

Speaking about what message he wants to deliver to the fans who are sticking with Odisha amid their shaky form, Josep Gombau explained: “I spoke with my players constantly and the commitment we have is so strong. All the players are very involved and concentrated. In the last 3-4 games, we haven’t gotten the good results. But I think they have not changed anything in terms of approaching every single training session and every game. We are exactly the same team that we were when we were winning games and this is what brings me confidence, that these guys are very good.

“I can tell the fans that every single minute we are on the field, we will give our 120% and help win games for them. Even in the last game, when we lost a home game for the first time (this season), we felt the supporters were special, especially at the end of the game. We need to move together to get a playoffs place. We are so grateful to the supporters and we need them tomorrow in the stadium. The players are on the same page. Everyone is working hard and tomorrow we need to give a big effort to try to win the game,” he added.

Expectations from the season

Finally, he was asked about what expectations he has from Odisha FC this season, to which the Spaniard stated: “We go game by game. We are having a decent season. The numbers are positive and we are in a process this season, and that takes time. We are happy with what we are doing and aim to improve on everything we do. We saw mistakes from the last game and are now working on fixing these mistakes and adapting to a totally different game against East Bengal.”

“Our approach to this game and the Mumbai City game is totally different. We are working on our build-up play, pressing and adjusting a little bit to the opposition team to try and break them during the game. We have many things to improve, but I think the team is on the right track to get a win tomorrow,” he finished off.

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