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We deserve to be in the semis, claims Manolo Marquez

Published at :April 20, 2024 at 11:21 PM
Modified at :April 20, 2024 at 11:21 PM
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(Courtesy : ISL Media)

Riddhiman Sarkar

FC Goa boss Manolo Marquez also spoke about the semi-final clash against Mumbai City.

FC Goa overcame Chennaiyin FC by a 2-1 margin at the Fatorda Stadium on Saturday in the ISL 2023-24 playoffs. Manolo Marquez’s side started slow but they eventually rose to the occasion with Noah Sadaoui picking up a deflected shot and slotting it into the far corner.

Brandon’s wondergoal a few minutes later gave them a 2-0 lead but then just before the lemon break, Lazar Cirkovic pulled one back for the visitors. The second half didn’t see any change in the scorecard.

FC Goa head coach Manolo Marquez sat with the media for the post-match press conference and answered their queries about his side’s performance, the next game and more.

On performance in the match

FC Goa weren’t really playing attractive football but got the job done at the end of the day. The Spanish head coach evaluated their performance noting:

“My team? I think that this kind of game is very difficult to play. The team was very nervous at the beginning of the game. Then suddenly we scored two goals. The second one was a fantastic goal from Brandon (Fernandes). When it seemed that we more or less had control of the game, we conceded a goal in the injury time of the first half. Sometimes it’s better to go into the break with the score at 2-0 rather than 2-1. At 2-0 maybe the confidence is good but at 2-1, you need to enter the pitch with a good tactic to play. Maybe for the spectators the game wasn’t good but I feel that we deserved to qualify.”

On trying to score in the second half 

Despite FC Goa being in the lead, Chennaiyin only had one goal to overcome. The tactician shared some insights regarding what they intended to do in the second half, as he said:

“We entered the pitch in the second half with the idea of scoring the third goal. In one action in the second half, we had a clear chance to seal the game. I have to check the statistics but my feeling from the bench is that we were closer to 3-1 than to 2-2. Despite me saying that Chennaiyin deserved to break into the top-six, I feel that we deserve to be in the semi-final.”

On facing Mumbai City in the semi-final

FC Goa will face an uphill task against the former ISL Shield winners Mumbai City. However, the mentor was upbeat and recounted his own experience as he explained:

“Difficult. Not just for Goa but for Mumbai City as well. I will be arrogant but this is my third consecutive playoff. In the current scenario, I feel that we’ll have an equal game with Mumbai. Both here in Goa and in Mumbai, the small details will matter. We know the quality of the players in Mumbai. If we don’t play in a good way and especially if we aren’t competitive in a good way, we can have problems. But I’m sure we will compete well. In the playoffs, it’s tough to play good football in some moments like how most of the teams play in the regular season.”

On team-talk in the dressing team and whether the reaction was justified

FC Goa had a slender lead so the team-talk at the break was crucial. Manolo Marquez instructed his players clearly about how they should play in the second half. He revealed:  

“The instructions were clear. We need to go for and try to score the third goal. Obviously, there will be moments when Chennaiyin has to attack and there will be more spaces. With every passing minute, they will be more offensive and there will be more spaces behind them to counter-attack. You need to manage these situations and I feel the boys understood the game very well in the second half. I feel they even created a clear chance and we deserved to qualify for the semi-finals.”

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