The Odisha FC head coach expressed the sheer confidence he has on his team ahead of their knockout game.

Odisha FC have already created history with their recent qualification to the knockout round of the ISL 2022-23 campaign. This is the maiden time that the neonate club has achieved this feat, and are looking to create more history by bringing the ISL trophy to the Kalinga. To reach this staggering feat though, Joseph Gombau’s men have to go through a scrutinizing and daunting qualification phase, which starts on Saturday, when they make a trip to the city of Joy, to lock horns with ATK Mohun Bagan in a knockout game for a spot in the semi-finals of the Indian Super League.

With their heads held high, and with only one objective in their minds, we can be very sure of this game to be extremely fierce and competitive. It will be a crucial test for either team, before one of them makes their way into the much precedented final four of the competition.

Ahead of the crucial tie, Odisha FC head coach Josep Gombau and star midfielder Thoiba Singh spoke to the media. This is how the conversation went.

Odisha’s preparations ahead of the ATKMB game                                                

Saturday poses the most important game in the short history of Odisha FC, and a lot is at stake for the Juggernauts. With them facing one of the fiercest teams in the league, Odisha will have to be at their very best to book a spot in the semi-finals.

“Tomorrow is a very important game, it’s the knockout stage. We need a win to bring us to the next level. It’s the same with ATKMB. We are ready and have prepared very well. We have all players available, which is a very good news and we are hoping to do a good game,” Josep Gombau exclaimed.

He added, “Every game is different. We faced them twice in the league. In our home I think we were the better side than them and we deserved to win, finally it was a draw. The game we played here in Kolkata, we conceded a very early goal, and it was difficult for us. We drew one, lost one, and now it is the moment to win.”

(Equal game on the cards)

“I think tomorrow’s game will be very equal. They are a good side for sure but at this point it is a must win game and it’s not easy. We have come here to compete and I think that we will find a very very equal game that will be decided by small details and we are working on these small details to assure that it’s coming our side. We are so confident. Of course, ATKMB are good team and we respect a lot the team that we play,” the mentor stated.

Nerves ahead of facing an intimidating crowd opposition fanbase

ATK Mohun Bagan have one of the most dedicated fanbases in India. With the fans often creating an intimidating atmosphere for the rivals, any team faces a tough time at the Salt Lake Stadium. When asked how he plans on stopping this from affecting his team, Josep Gombau said, “We have total confidence in our players and in the way that we will play tomorrow. We are here to make noise, and I think that tomorrow we will do a lot of noise here in this stadium.”

Josep speaks on the environment in the dressing room

With this being Odisha’s first qualification ever into the playoffs, it is very much anticipated that the environment in the dressing room is very joyous, and there is positivity all around for the upcoming game.

“We are so happy to be in playoffs in this knockout stage, I think for our club it is very important, we have never been in this situation and to play finals is something nice. I think the players deserve it because we did a consistent season, and now is the moment to try to go to the next stage. When you are here you want more, why not win tomorrow and go to the next level.” Josep said when asked about the environment in the dressing room

“We come here with nothing to lose but a lot to win, with knowing that people think that ATKMB will probably win. But we come here with this mentality to upset the people and to show that we are a good team and to try to go ahead,” he added.

How confident is Thoiba for the ATKMB clash?

The young midfielder, who has been amazing throughout the season for Odisha, shares his thoughts ahead of their clash against ATK Mohun Bagan.

“We are so confident for tomorrow’s game. I know they are a good team, but we are also good enough to compete with them. Tomorrow’s game will be won by the team that has more hunger to win.”

“Everyone is motivated and in the practice ground we are doing well. In the last game, we made some mistakes. We have clarified those and are ready for the clash,” he added.

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