The Spaniard insisted his side to maintain emotional stability ahead of the game.

The first leg of Indian Super League 2020-21 semi-final approaches and the league standings don’t matter anymore. FC Goa will be looking to make the most of the fixture and stamp their authority against Mumbai City FC as they get ready to face the man previously at their helm. With no tables and points involved any more, the matches will get interesting and it is Mode Anything-Can-Happen. As they prepare to face the Islanders, coach Juan Ferrando and defender Adil Khan answered questions from the media.

The next-man-up mentality

The versatility within the squad to keep standing tall despite injuries and suspensions is a highly commendable attribute. “We have a very good squad. If we do not have Glan (Martins), we have Princeton (Rebello). If no Princeton, we have Amarjit (Singh). We have Adil for Ivan (Gonzalez) now that he is out. In case of Alberto (Noguera) we can maybe find a new plan. It is not a problem. I want to put the best possible lineup, but sometimes it is not possible because of injuries or suspensions. I am happy because the entire team works hard during the training. It is not a big problem for me to choose the best lineup.”

Mindset of the team

The need to enjoy the game is paramount for FC Goa. Juan Ferrando is of the same view as he said, “In the dressing room when we talk, the most important thing is that they enjoy the game. If the FC Goa players enjoy the game, then we have success. Then comes the pressure factor. Pressure exists because everybody wants to win. It is important for me that the players want to play football. I am afraid when the team is not playing football. Because it becomes difficult to help them.”

Supporting young players through mistakes

Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem put in a stellar performance between the sticks against Hyderabad FC to ensure FC Goa’s qualification to the playoffs. The performance was a positive sign for Juan Ferrando after the youngster drew criticism for his past performances. “I think it is very important to help and support them. Dheeraj is 20 years old. It is the same with any player. If a player like Adil makes wrong passes, my target in the training to help improve the players.”

“If you want to help the young players and improve them, it is necessary to be close to them and to work on the pitch. To explain and find the solutions and step-by-step to pay more minutes. I am very happy because we have a lot of young players. I hope day-by-day they get better. It is necessary for supporters to understand to get behind the players during difficult moments,” he added.

The necessity to have emotions in check

As the competition reaches its curtains, there would be several thoughts crossing the payers’ minds. It is necessary to keep these thoughts in check so as to put complete focus on the upcoming ties. “It is not about the three points. It is 180 minutes. It is two games and I think it is necessary to control the emotions. After that, it is necessary to believe in our plan. And then depending on the moment, we need to take risks. But for me, the first 20 minutes, we need to control the feelings.”

The next 180 minutes are what matters the most right now to Juan Ferrando. “We are in playoffs. Put focus on tomorrow and then on Monday. It is step-by-step. At the end, it is the last three games of the season. It is necessary not to think about the future. When FC Goa think about the future then we have a problem. Our only focus is on the next 90 minutes. And then the 90 minutes on Monday,” the Spaniard concluded.

Adil Khan on FC Goa’s playing style

The defender realizes the advantages that comes from playing in a specified system under Juan Ferrando. ”He wants us to play from the back. We train and plan on how to break the teams. We observe the pressure. It is important for all the players to know what exactly the coach needs. It took a little bit of time for me to adjust to the system. Now I know what I have to do. It is working well for me.”

Adjusting to the system

Adil did take some time to settle into the system, especially in terms of warming up to the personnel. “Yes, in the beginning I did not know the other players, especially how the foreigners play. Also how exactly the coach wants me to play. In the beginning, it was difficult. I have adapted well to the situation and now, I think it is working well.”

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