The Brazilian insists that FC Goa defence needs to be strong.

FC Goa Head Coach Zico is hopeful of a turnaround in their fortunes when they take on hosts Atlético de Kolkata in the Indian Super League at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium on Sunday. The Gaurs, who scored the most goals last year and reached the Final have started their new campaign off on the wrong foot losing all three matches so far to prop up the league. However, Zico hopes his team will soon be able to leave behind those defeats but acknowledging that it will be an uphill task for them from here on.

“I think all the games that we have ahead of us are difficult games now and we need to have the strength to try and avert the situation that we are in now,” the Brazilian told reporters on Saturday.

“If you see we have got no points now but if we win this game, then we will just be behind Kolkata. I think they have five points. Nothing is lost and we have got to be perseverant and continue giving our best. Whether you are first or fourth in the standings it doesn’t matter, we just got to be there in the top 4.”

Another thing that doesn’t bode well for the Gaurs is that they haven’t beaten ATK before in the six encounters between them (two ATK wins and four draws) so far, and it was also the Kolkata team that had inflicted a 4-2 defeat on penalties on them in the semis of the inaugural edition. Zico understands they face a tough road ahead. “Kolkata have a very nice team, a very good attack but we are going to do our best in our defence to neutralize their power and play our best in this game ahead of us,” he said.

When asked if they were planning to mark ATK’s marquee man Helder Postiga man-to-man, Zico said: “You can see in our games we never mark man-to-man, so our philosophy will be zonal. Of course, we have to pay attention to how certain players play but we will stick to our philosophy of marking by zones.”The 63-year-old also informed that his team was facing no injury concerns and every player in the squad was available for selection for Sunday’s encounter.

Meanwhile, citing the example of other leagues in Asia where the quota for foreigners is restricted to 4 in the playing XI Zico said, “The top leagues in Asia have three foreigners playing in the starting XI along with an Asian origin footballer. We need to have more Indian players playing in the league. There is talent no doubt in India. But, there is still a long way to go for India to compete with the top teams in the world. There is still a lot of room for improvement”.

Zico said the performances of the Indian national team haven’t been great in the last three years so the impact of the ISL is still to be witnessed.“See the national team’s performance in these years. There hasn’t been much improvement. Overall there is still a long way to go. We do have good talents coming from THE ISL but I feel Indian players need to play in key positions. Now striker, midfielder places are occupied by foreign players,” he said.

Photo © ISL Media

Match Preview by Khel Now Correspondent Rony. Sports passionate and content writer. He is big football and cricket fan.