The tactician also revealed that his side don’t have a solid plan for the January transfer window.

Stuart Baxter’s life in the Indian Super League has started on a rough note to say the least. With four defeats in the first five games, Odisha FC are struggling to find their feet in the competition. 

Their upcoming game is against Bengaluru FC, who come into this fixture after securing an impressive 4-2 victory over Kerala Blasters.

Stuart Baxter, who is the head coach of Odisha for this season, spoke to the media prior to this upcoming clash with BFC, which will prove to be his men’s toughest challenge yet.

On no clean-sheets and possible change in defensive pairing

Stuart Baxter talked about the fact that his team have failed to keep a single clean-sheet so far and whether he might change personnel to achieve that. He said, “I don’t think conceding goals is the direct responsibility of the centre-backs. I don’t think centre-backs’ performance has been substandard. In some games they have defended very well.”

On lack of experienced holding midfielder and whether the club will look for a new addition

The tactician was asked if the club would be looking to bring in an overseas holding midfielder, to which he responded, “The January market is going to be fraught with danger. You have quarantine, you have to identify the player and he’s got to acclimatize to the Indian game. By the time he’s done that, it may be the close of the season. At this time, we haven’t got any concrete plans.”

On facing an undefeated Bengaluru FC

The Blues are yet to taste defeat this season, which makes the upcoming game even tougher for the Juggernauts, who are yet to win their first match. Speaking in this context, Baxter said, “I think Bengaluru has done well. They started also with a few issues to iron out, but they’ve been making progress.

“It will certainly be a tough game. Every game for us at the moment is tough. We will be trying to iron out those small things that have had a big impact on us and hope in that way we can be competitive.” he further added.

Related: Bottom dwellers Odisha take on Bengaluru FC in ISL

On what the team is lacking

The 67-year-old also spoke in his players’ favour upon being asked what exactly was the team lacking. He explained, “To say what the team is lacking will be very disrespectful to the players that have worked very hard. Even in 1-0 defeats, the players have worked very, very hard.

“Certainly, we need to do better as a team with things that win or lose a game of football. We certainly need to be better at extending our attacks, to make them longer. If we can make momentum there and take momentum away from opponents, that will help us.” the tactician continued. 

Message to fans

Upon being asked what his message to the fans would be after a tough start, Baxter assured them that the team would stick together to grind out results. “My message to the fans would be that first of all, this is a difficult time for every team that is in this bio-bubble. We promise we will work hard, but that’s a given.” he expressed.

Stuart Baxter concluded by saying, “What I would like to say is that the results have not gone our way. I hope the fans stick with us, I hope we can give them more to be happy about and if we stick together, than that’s a big step in turning this thing around.”

For more updates, follow Khel Now on TwitterInstagram and join our community on Telegram.