The coach spoke ahead of a crucial game in Asia’s premier continental competition.

FC Goa are gearing up to participate in the group stage of the AFC Champions League and become the first Indian club to do so. Juan Ferrando spoke to the media ahead of the iconic fixtures, which will be closely watched by the Gaurs’ fans and the rest of the Indian football fraternity.

The 40-year-old talked about several important topics, be it the preparation or the decision regarding playing only four foreigners. He was joined by midfielders Edu Bedia and Brandon Fernandes, who also expressed their points of view. 

Juan Ferrando on recovering from COVID-19

Juan Ferrando had tested positive for COVID-19 in March and had to self-isolate while recovering. Speaking on his health and the general mood, the coach quoted, “I am feeling good. It was a difficult moment mentally because all the time I was inside the room. Now, we are working with the team and this is the most important (thing) for me because I love my job, I love working with my team and to prepare them.”

The state of preparations

The tactician gave an insight into how the preparations have been ahead of the ACL group stage fixtures. “At the end, our way is the same. To prepare the team. This is our philosophy, but of course it is necessary to explain about the details because we are playing against very good teams. Their players have a lot of quality. But, I believe in my team, I believe in my squad and at the end, my job is to help in plans and to be competitive in the next games.”

Need to be consistent

Juan Ferrando also talked about the approach and why FC Goa must trust in their own tactics, rather than change the way they play due to stronger oppositiond. He added in this context, “At FC Goa, the philosophy is the same. It is necessary to improve some points in defence and also improve some points in attack.

“But, our philosophy at all times is the same. The plan, more or less, is the same. It is not necessary to talk about tactics but more about focus,” the Spaniard further explained.

The foreign players conundrum

In accordance with ACL rules, FC Goa can only field upto four foreign players, as opposed to five in the ISL. There have not been any confirmation yet as to which four players would be picked by the management. Speaking in this context, Juan Ferrando said, “In my opinion, all different players have very positive things and they help the team a lot…of course it’s a difficult decision. More or less in my mind, we are thinking, but by tomorrow night, we will decide the best players.”

Edu Bedia on preparation

The skipper was asked about how the players will prepare themselves against a much tougher oppositions. He answered, “The ISL is a very balanced league in terms of the strength of the teams. Keeping in mind what sort of level they (the ACL opponents) are going to be playing at, we will have to work hard. We are training with a lot of intensity in preparation for this.

“We have to be smart and take the few chances that we get,” he further added.

Brandon Fernandes on fitness levels

Brandon Fernandes spent the major part of the ISL 2020-21 season on the sidelines due to injuries and fitness concerns. Speaking on his fitness levels and if he is fully fit to help the team in the games ahead, he said, “Yes, I am training normally with the team. Right now, I feel very good and am training with the team.”

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