The Gaurs’ technical director explained his immediate targets after having taken over the first-team.

FC Goa held their first conference in the aftermath of the dismissal of Sergio Lobera as their head coach after the Spaniard led the club to an immensely successful two and a half year term at helm. Ahead of their match against Hyderabad FC, technical director Derrick Pereira and Carlos Pena addressed the media personnel.

On the note of the immediate change of guards at the club, Derrick Pereira said, “I am very excited to be here, to work with the first team. If you see our youth teams, we all play the same style of football, same formation. So to get into this setup, there won’t be much changes.”

“We are going to follow the same style, same methods and we will stick to the same routine, training routine, the way the team used to go about earlier. There won’t be much changes. I always believe that there is scope for improvement and wherever the loopholes are there, we will try to plug in.”

He was asked further questions about the task that is in front of him currently. Pereira remarked, “God has blessed me with this quality of accepting challenges. Right from retiring after my playing days, I took up a coaching job, with just ‘C’ license. Then you know I was asked to join Mahindra United, one of the richest clubs. You know that when Churchill was at the bottom of the table, I took up that job.”

“Also, the India U-23 game, in short time I had to work with that team. So, this is something the quality that I am blessed with, where I take up challenges and this is one of that. I have to see how I go about, to see that the team does well and to remain on top.”

The 57-year-old was probed about his immediate objectives after taking over the mantle. He stated, “My focus is on keeping the team together, to focus that the team plays together like always and to focus on each and every match to do well. We have the quality in our team but our mindset has to be right and that is what I will be looking at.”

Moreover, the technical director was interrogated regarding how did the players respond to the rejig that took place a few days ago. He responded by saying, “I saw it very positive. Right from the day one, when I stepped on the training field, I saw that there was a lot of positive energy on the players, considering the whole situation. I respect these players and the way we went about our whole training, in which we did the same routine, there was not much change. So they responded well. Every day it was the same attitude by the players, which gives a lot of satisfaction and I am very happy about it.”

The director further continued to say, “Every match is tough. Every match in ISL, you cannot consider that this match is easy or that match is tough. We have to prepare ourselves, as usual, to play to the best of our abilities and we have the quality like I said. If we stay together, we can get good results in the remaining few matches.”

On the other hand, Carlos Pena was sort of reminded about the team’s tendency to let loose in the second half of matches that allows the opposition an opportunity to sneak their way back into the game. He replied, “Well I think the last game, in the first half, we did almost a perfect game you know. We played very good. We arrived at the half time 0-3. But Odisha pushed a lot from the first minute.”

“I have one thing that we can improve. It is the mentality in the first minutes of the second half. It has happened not many but some times and well we have to learn from these situations and try that it does not happen in the next games.”

Speaking about the ongoing situation at the club, Pena remarked, “Well, changes are never easy. Sergio (Lobera) has done a really good job during two and a half seasons. He has worked with a lot with almost all the players during a lot of time. So it is normal that many players are sad during this situation. But, we are professionals. We defend FC Goa.”

“We have to look at the future now, there is no other way. I think we have the responsibilities to fight in the same way to achieve the objectives of the club. And now we are happy that Derrick Pereira and his staff has helped us a lot during these days, in this situation.”

“Now we only want to talk about football, to think, to be focused in the next three games that are very important for the club and for us,” he added.

Speaking on the belief of the players, the defender remarked, “We don’t know. The players are sure that we can achieve the objectives now. As I said, players are professionals. Obviously, some of them have their preference, other have other preference, we have respect for the people who are working with us. But we defend our club. I have one sentence which is very useful in this situation now. ‘Players and coaches go from the clubs but the club always remains.’ Here, the most important is the club, the supporters and we have the responsibilities to fight for the objectives of the club.”

There has been an insane backlash by the fans on the social media following Lobera’s departure from the club. Derrick Pereira was asked about his reactions on that and he stated, “I don’t go to social media. In fact, I don’t see news, TV news, because you see all the negativity around.”

“I only look at myself as the coach here now with the job given to me to look after the end of the season. My focus is at the job in the hand, to see that the team does well. What is needed to work with the team and how we have to go about.”

“That’s my objective right now so nothing else matters to me. Our fans, yes, they are one of the most passionate fans that we have in the country. I can understand their sentiments. They were there for the team, right from the first year when I was watching ISL matches from the stands. They were always there whenever the team was doing well or not doing so well. The fans were there and I am sure they will be there for us in the next match as well. It’s very important to have them there because players give their best to see that they get the satisfaction of supporting them. So I am sure they will be back.”

Regarding the player’s knowledge of what transpired between the former head coach and the club authorities, Pena said, “No we don’t know many things between the coach and the club. And, players don’t need to know everything that happen in a club.” He also said something on the lines that they have to respect the decision of the people who run the club.

A journalist pointed out that Jackichand Singh and Hugo Boumous are have fantastic seasons and directed a question towards Derrick Pereira whether that added extra pressure on him to extract the best performances out of the duo. He answered, “You already said that they are in top form. I am sure that they are going to continue with that form. It’s not just about one or two players, it’s about the whole team. I was just telling Pena before we entered that I am very excited to work with the set of players that we have.”

“The quality of players the last time I had was at Mahindra where we won trophies and the same situation is right now. So, I think we have the quality of players to support each other and get the right results,” added Derrick Pereira.

Pena gave a message to the fans as he said, “Well, I want to say them if they love FC Goa then they have to support us. Because, we will fight in the same way that we have done in every game. So, tomorrow we will fight, we will play in the same way, we will try to entertain them and we will fight for the victory so we need their support and we will try to make them happy.”

On his final thoughts about Hyderabad FC, Derrick Pereira mentioned, “Hyderabad, after changing their coach, have improved their performances. They are strong in the defense and going forward as well they have some quality players. But, if we stick to our style of football, if each and every player gives in their best, I think we can overcome this hurdle.”

Team News

FC Goa does not have any injuries right now and will head into this match probably with a fully fit squad available for selection.

Head-to-Head:

FC Goa and Hyderabad FC have faced each other once before and the former emerged triumphant with a margin of 1-0 in that clash.

Probable XI

Nawaz, Seriton, Fall, Pena, Mandar, Lenny, Jahouh, Jackichand, Boumous, Brandon, Corominas.

Broadcast

The game will commence from 7:30 PM IST on Wednesday evening. It will be telecast live on Star Sports 1 and Star Sports 1 HD. It will also be available to stream on Hotstar and Jio TV.