This will be the Gaurs’ second of three games set to take place in the space of eight days.
FC Goa travel to the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati to take on NorthEast United in Indian Super League (ISL) on Saturday. The 2015 finalists have picked up a point from their previous two fixtures, and will be eager to recapture their momentum against a stuttering Highlanders outfit.
Speaking to the media at the pre-match press conference was Goa head coach Sergio Lobera and he began by mentioning the hectic schedule the Guars have undergone in the past few days.
“First of all, there is the change in schedule,” he stated. “So, we have to play on the third, sixth and eleventh instead. That is one point. The second thing is we had to play a very complicated game in Kolkata after waiting 48 hours, where one flight we took had to take an emergency landing.”
“We reached quite late and had to warm up in our travel gear. So, it was obviously quite complicated, we ended up finishing the match on the next day. So, obviously it’s going to affect tomorrow’s game. It’s not only going to affect this game but also the game after.”
The Spaniard spoke about how his team was going to approach a tricky encounter against a faltering NorthEast. “Obviously, the good thing about this league is that the teams are very well balanced,” Lobera inferred.
“And there’s only a small difference in the games. NorthEast have a change in management, so they will have a different approach tomorrow. For us, what we’re looking at is a game from which we want to take three points. And keep focussing on the next games as they come.”
The 40-year-old lauded the contribution of his side’s and the league’s top-scorer Ferran Corominas. “Obviously, Coro (Corominas) is a very good player,” Lobera said. “You all know the experience he’s had playing across different clubs. He has great quality. I’m very happy with him because he’s one of the best players I’ve trained so far. Not just on the field, but off the field as well. You need someone like that in the dressing room.”
Before concluding, Lobera was asked about his team’s defensive deficiencies having failed to keep a clean sheet in Hero ISL 2017-18 so far. “I don’t think it’s fair that you analyse a defence on the defensive performance of the team. Because we attack as a team and defend as a team and as a team we are very attacking. We are also a team that needs to balance defensively. Obviously, we need to improve defensively but as a team and not just the defence,” he said.
Meanwhile, NorthEast United FC have appointed former Chelsea FC manager Avram Grant as their technical advisor. The Highlanders’ goalkeeping coach Joseph Siddy spoke about the Israeli during the home side’s pre-match press conference.
“The new advisor (Grant) with his experience and coaching style will give us confidence to do well in the future matches,” Siddy said. “Hopefully we’ll do well. This is just the beginning for him. Maybe it will take time for him to adjust with the players. He will see the players in the training sessions, then he will take his call. Let’s see where we can go.”