The newly-appointed Gaurs head coach showed great enthusiasm on taking charge of the team and ambitions for the upcoming season.

After several months of skipping through CVs, FC Goa had their Eureka moment as they came across a certain Juan Ferrando. Looking at the progress the young and exuberant Spaniard made in his previous assignments, the club realized that he is the man.

Thereon, completing all the necessary formalities, the club appointed Ferrando as their new boss – news that was first revealed by Khel Now, a day prior to the official announcement. Fast forward to his first virtual press conference as the head coach of FC Goa, Juan Ferrando was upright with his answers and showed great enthusiasm for his debut season too.

“He (Sergio Lobera) did a great job. The team was playing really good and also won the league stage. Lots of positive things,” began Ferrando.

“Now, my next step is to help continue the growth of the team, to continue to help the young players, to continue with the same style and tactics and of course to play well in the AFC Champions League.”

When asked what sort of playing style he will look to adopt at FC Goa, he said, “Maybe, we’ll continue with the same style (as previous season). Sometimes, it is not necessary to change the style. Instead, it is necessary to just add more details.”

“My methodology is to help the players. I’m not the typical coach who is like ‘this is my system, my model and all the players have to follow it.’ No, I want the players to feel free on the pitch,” he added. “A coach is only there to decide the starting XI, the best ways to attack, the best lineup for defence and so on. But, at the end, the players are most important.”

‘Winning each game as it comes’ is a formula Juan Ferrando believes in. He mentioned how football is a game about results. Citing the example of the FIFA World Cup in Russia, he pointed out why one would choose France as the best team among all -because of course they ended up winning the Cup.

FC Goa have seen several young and talented players rising from the lower rungs to make it to the first-team. Speaking about continuing with the trend, Juan Ferrando said, “We aren’t thinking about their positions, but the best youth team players. We can have them in the training sessions and can also allow them some minutes in the games.”

“I think, Lenny (Rodrigues) is not at the high level yet, he can do more. Brandon (Fernandes) and (Saviour) Gama are the same.”

Moving on, FC Goa will make their bow in the ACL for the first time next season and it shall undoubtedly be a huge challenge for them. For, they shall carry the burden of hopes from not just their own fans, but those from Indian football in general. But, having a man with Juan Ferrando’s experience, they will look to leave a lasting impression among Asia’s elite.

“It is a really important thing, not just for Goa but for Indian football. The Champions League will have the best teams, the best players in Asia – maybe 90% of the best Asian players are in this competition,” he quoted. “For us, it is a very good opportunity to travel places, good stadiums and play against good opponents.”

“We have a very good coaching staff and we will work hard to face the challenges we have. It’s not that just the league and the Champions League are important, but the friendly games are too.  Because, from the friendly games, we’ll get the information on the players, the team and the future of the club.”

The AFC mandates teams to have a 3+1 foreigners rule in continental competitions. Meanwhile, the ISL allows five in the starting lineup. Speaking about how he will look to go about the transition, Juan Ferrando said, “I think this is a great opportunity for Indian players. But, I also think it is important to have those foreign players to lead the team, to help the young players in the dressing room.”

He further cited the example of FC Barcelona during the tutelage of Louis van Gaal, who brought in a flurry of Dutch players along with him. That resulted in several talented players in the academy (La Masia) fighting for a spot in the team. He pointed out that situations like this help instill a competitive mentality in the players.

“It is a good challenge and I’m not afraid of it,” he went on to make a statement.

Furthermore, setting up an academy is the next step for FC Goa, believes the newly-appointed head coach. “All the big clubs, FC Barcelona, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain have their own academies. FC Goa is also a big club and they need an academy,” he stated.

“In my opinion, even the big clubs in India like Kerala Blasters and Mumbai City FC have some good young players. In some time, they will have their own academies and I think that is the future of Indian football – clubs having their own academies.”

Recently, there has been a sort of exodus of first-team players at FC Goa and while it seems a worrisome situation for fans, it certainly isn’t for Juan Ferrando. “Right now, all the clubs are at the same level and are facing the same situation. We have a very hard-working staff and a sporting director (Ravi Puskur) and we are checking on new players.”

“Normally, it happens in July, but taking into consideration the current situation, we are hoping to close the squad in September. I’m sure we’ll have a good team and be ready to compete in the ACL.”

In addition to that, the coach also dismissed the idea of bringing in some of his best recruits from his previous clubs. Albeit acknowledging the thought, he asserted that ‘it’s not necessary’ to bring his ex-players to Goa.

Amid the lockdown, the newly-appointed coach revealed that staff have been making individual training plans for the players. That is of course to ensure they stay fit and come prepared when Indian football resumes.

On that note, Juan Ferrando also insisted on the importance of a pre-season – a period when the coaching staff can pass on its idea to the players. It is the time the staff ensures that the players get the message, so they are on the same page before the new season begins.

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