The Spaniard also claimed that substituting Adil Khan in the previous fixture was a tactical decision.

FC Goa are set to face Persepolis FC once again in their fourth game in the AFC Champions League group stages on Friday. The Gaurs suffered their first-defeat against the Iranians on April 20. They could not build on Edu Bedia’s opening goal, which was also the first-ever goal scored by an Indian club in the history of AFC Champions League. Ahead of the next game, FC Goa boss Juan Ferrando spoke in the pre-match press conference, expressing his opinions on several important points.

Fitness of the team

Juan Ferrando spoke in reference to the fitness levels and why it is vital to remain in good condition during these times.

“It’s difficult but it’s difficult for all the teams. We are playing – in 20 days, six games. Of course, it is very important to prepare the squad, everybody needs to play in the lineup. It is necessary to be ready, to be strong and at the end, it’s important to participate and try to play with the best conditions for everybody.”

Thoughts on the team’s performance

The Spaniard expressed his feelings regarding the performance of his team till now, who have earned two points in three games, against tall odds.

“Am I happy? No, because our mentality is to win the games,” Juan Ferrando revealed.

“But, we know we are in the Champions League, these are very difficult games. Sometimes, I am happy, because the team was good in performance. We have three more games, they are very important for us, it’s necessary to work hard, to improve in some points. Our target is to get the nine points,” he added.

Edu Bedia’s absence

Edu Bedia is set to miss the next game for FC Goa due to accumulation of two yellow cards as well as an injury picked up in the previous match. Juan Ferrando spoke about a potential plan in absence of the skipper.

“We prepared a new plan. I hope we have success in today’s training. We will explain the new plan. It’s the same as in the last five-six games in the ISL, when Brandon was injured. We changed some details in (tactics). I hope tomorrow, our plan will be better than the last game,” the tactician revealed.

“Edu’s injury is the same as Mohamed Ali’s, it is in the knee ligament, but we will see day by day if the treatment makes it better. Hopefully, he will be with us early.” the 40-year-old added.

Adil Khan’s substitution

India international Adil Khan was taken off against Persepolis around half hour mark. Explaining the decision to substitute the player early in the first-half, Juan Ferrando stressed the decision to take the midfielder was a tactical one.

“It was a tactical decision. After 2 – 1, the plan was necessary to change and we decided to play Edu as #6 and Amarjit as #8. The decision was not for mistakes. Adil helps a lot, he is a leader, he is a great person but the need to change the plan was the reason to substitute him.”

Brandon Fernandes on the intensity of the ACL

The Indian midfielder accompanied Juan Ferrando to the press conference. Fernandes spoke about how playing in the AFC Champions League has been a different experience than the ISL.

“For me, I think ISL level is good, but AFC Champions League is a different level I feel. The intensity is very high, the teams play more quicker, there is less time on the ball. I think it’s a good learning process for each and everyone of us who is playing the Champions League. We can only get better by playing such types of games,” he quipped.

ACL as a platform

Brandon Fernandes also spoke on using the ACL as a platform to showcase his skills and play abroad in future.

“I always wanted to play abroad, but right now the opportunity I am getting, I am going to take it. I’ve got this opportunity to play in the Champions League and it’s a big opportunity for me. It is one of the best tournaments in Asia,” he signed off.

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