The former Barcelona youth coach will be aiming to make Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium a fortress for the Lions this season.
Delhi Dynamos, in an attempt to overturn their fortunes and prevent a similar disaster as their previous Indian Super League campaign, have signed the Spaniard Josep Gombau as their head coach for the upcoming 2018-19 season. The ISL is heading into its fifth edition and the capital club will enter the competition with a new manager at the helm, their fifth in as many editions.
With a new manager comes a new philosophy and these recurring managerial appointments have led to a stagnation of the squad. Infact, the Dynamos completely revamped their squad last season by not retaining any former players, hoping for a better performance as compared to previous campaigns. However, it wasn’t meant to be; the club finished 8th on the table which was their worst ever finish, under then manager, Miguel Angel Portugal, also from Spain.
The former Barcelona youth coach takes the position which has previously been held by Harm van Veldhoven (Netherlands), Roberto Carlos (Brazil), Gianluca Zambrotta (Italy) and Portugal (Spain). Gombau was last appointed by A-league side Western Sydney Wanderers where he was relieved of his duties after the club failed to make the final un that the Australian top flight. Gombau has also had a taste of silverware with Adelaide United and Hong Kong’s Kitchee SC.
However, the biggest highlight on his resume is his time at FC Barcelona, where he was the youth academy coach and worked alongside some of the most gifted and talented players around. The 42-year old brings a wave of freshness to the club and it’s fans who are desperately trying to move on from a dismal last season.
We take a look at a few key issues that Gombau will look to resolve in the upcoming term of the ISL:
1. Construct an identity of the club on the field
Due to their yearly managerial appointments and squad overhauls, the Delhi-based outfit are now suffering from a lack of identity on the field. Fans aren’t sure if their team is prolific in attack or solid in defense, whether they’ll play long balls or attempt to build from the back.
Gombau will definitely bring a style of play to the club that is possession-based and reminiscent of his time with the Catalan club. Implementing such a system at Delhi Dynamos will do them a world of good and prevent the severe leakage of goals.
2. Support from the the owners
It is true that a large portion of problems faced by the Dynamos have been self-inflicted. In an attempt to improve on a third place finiis in 2016-17, they went for a complete overhaul that ended up producing their worst league performance.
One season is not enough to expect a complete change of fortunes. The former Amposta youth player needs to be allowed to at least retain his post for the duration of his current contract, which is of two years. Any system needs time to flourish and the same applies for the tactics Josep is known for. To bring flair and chemistry between te players, time is required and the board needs to trust their own appointment to deliver on the promises.
3. Building a synergy between the new signings and the current squad
With the departure of their marquee signing from the previous season, Kalu Uche, the club will depend on home-grown talents such as Daniel Lalhlimpuia and Shubham Sarangi for goals. Gombau will also attempt to build a reliant midfield partnership between Bikramjit Singh and new recruit from Pune City, Marcos Tebar. The full-backs Pritam Kotal and new signing Narayan Das will also look to impress their new boss early on.
A lot needs to go well for Gombau in his first season in-charge of the Dynamos. With an impressive resume and an attacking style of football that he’ll bring, it can easily be said that Delhi may have taken a step forward in the right direction with this appointment. Gombau will attempt to make Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium a fortress and a playoff finish will be the minimum requirement for the Lions this season.