ISL- Indian Super League

Five games in 19 days along with travel not easy: Sergio Lobera

Keshava VermaKeshava Verma
October 6 2023

Sergio Lobera also spoke highly of his former employers FC Goa.

Odisha FC are all set to take on another crucial challenge in their ISL journey, as they now face FC Goa in a battle that is crucial for either side.

Odisha have enjoyed a great start, and have picked four points in their past two ties. Moreover, they have shown great character in their performance.

With a saturday showdown on the cards, Sergio Lobera is well aware of the importance of tomorrow’s game, and will do everything to get the three points home.

Ahead of the tie, the Spaniard spoke to the media. Here are a few excerpts from the conversation.

On Indian football’s growth 

Having been a part of Indian football for a considerable time now, Lobera is someone who has seen the development of the sport in the nation take shape in the past years. When asked about this growth, the Odisha FC boss said:

“When I first came, compared to now, it’s growing rapidly. Every season is tougher and I think this season will be tougher with the teams, with the players that have come in and especially the coaches that have come back. So, in terms of the growth of Indian football, you can see a lot of young players now starting in big clubs. So that’s a positive sign.”

Roy Krishna on why he chose Odisha

Having received a number of offers from different teams in the league and maybe abroad, Fiji forward Roy Krishna chose to join the Juggernauts. When asked about the key factors that helped him in this decision, Krishna said, “As a player, you need the love and the mindset of a coach, what role he wants you to play. I admired him (Lobera) when he was with Goa and Mumbai City and the way his teams play. I love that and I think under him I can improve my football and knowledge about football. So that was the big key point for me to come to Odisha.”

On Odisha’s development 

Having initially taken some time to the competitiveness of the ISL, Odisha now present themselves as a major force in Indian football. Also, they are now one of the few clubs to have represented the nation at the continental level.

When asked to share his thoughts on the development of the club this season, Sergio Lobera stated, “I think we obviously need to improve and grow. But this time we were playing five games in 19 days, in two competitions, with trips in the middle. It’s not easy.”

He added, “But in terms of ISL, I am very proud of my players. I think we competed very well against two very good teams. The first game was against Chennai. And the second one against Mumbai City. We are understanding better what is my idea as a coach and my philosophy. And the players, they are doing an amazing job. I am very happy about the performance of the team.”

On the FC Goa game

With a mighty battle against FC Goa awaiting the Juggernauts, Sergio Lobera made his thoughts known ahead of the tie.

“When you are playing against teams like FC Goa, you know you are playing against a very good team. They built a winning team and the expectations from FC Goa this season is high. It’s a good opponent because I think Manolo Marquez shows everyone they want to play attacking football,” he said.

He added, “We are also trying to play the same. And maybe it’s good for the supporters to watch the game tomorrow and hopefully for the people who are watching the game, it’s possible to enjoy this game. Hopefully I can enjoy getting three points also. But I think it will be a very good game because we are going to play against a very good team and a very good coach.”

Roy Krishna also shared his thoughts on the tie against FC Goa. He said, “Tomorrow is a good test for us because we are going to compete against one of the favourite teams to win the league. Obviously, as the coach said before, they have a very good team. We are excited about this game and we need to enjoy the competition.”

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