I don’t want excuses: Sergio Lobera ahead of the Maziya clash

Atawaris WarsiAtawaris Warsi
October 24 2023

Sergio Lobera also delivered an analysis of Maziya before the game.

Odisha FC have been struggling in both the Indian Super League (ISL) and the AFC Cup. The Juggernauts find themselves languishing in the 7th position in the domestic league, far from their desired top spot. However, their woes don’t end there. In the AFC Cup, the team is anchored at the very bottom and is yet to register their first points.

In their inaugural AFC Cup match against their domestic rivals, Mohun Bagan, Sergio Lobera’s squad endured a humbling 4-0 defeat. However, in their subsequent AFC Cup fixture, the Kalinga Warriors, living up to their name, put up a valiant fight but were regrettably outshone in a thrilling encounter, ending with a 3-2 scoreline.

As the Juggernauts prepare to host Maziya on their home turf, it’s an opportune moment to delve into the insights provided by head coach Sergio Lobera:

Thoughts on the game

In stark contrast to the Juggernauts’ performance, the Maldivian club, Maziya, has been quite the revelation. Currently, Maziya finds themselves in an impressive second position in both their domestic league and the highly competitive AFC Cup group stage. This stark divergence in form sets the stage for an exciting clash on the horizon.

Sergio Lobera acknowledged Maziya’s strength and highlighted, “We are going to play against a very good team. They showed their potential in the last two games of this competition. We know it’s a difficult game for us, but also we know that it’s another opportunity to get three important points.”

Lack of defensive duties 

In the AFC Cup, Odisha FC have conceded seven goals in two games till now. When asked if there’s a lack in defence, the tactician replied, “We need to try to find the balance. In football it’s not only about the defence or about attack.”

“We need to find the balance. I think in the first game it was a difficult situation for us to compete with 10 players. In the first half we were a very good team and didn’t concede goals. It was a very difficult situation in the second half. We conceded four goals. But, we can do better,” Lobera added.

The possible threat

Maziya currently holds the second position in their AFC Cup group. The Maldivian club’s performance has been nothing short of remarkable, and head coach Lobera is keenly aware of the potential threat they can pose to his players.

“I think they have a very good team. They play very well with the ball. They have very good balance when they are losing the ball in defence. They have very skilful and fast players in attacking positions and players with a lot of experience. They have very good numbers in this competition. I think it is important to win possession of the ball, because they are suffering more without the ball,” the coach addressed.

The congestion in schedule

The Kalinga Warriors are facing a tight schedule with the AFC Cup and ISL running simultaneously. The head coach addressed the issue by saying, “We have two options: Complain or try to adapt as soon as possible and I prefer the second one.”

“If we complain everyday, we are increasing the problems we have. We need to adapt in this competition and in ISL. I don’t want excuses,” Lobera added.

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