The Gaurs head coach spoke after his side got knocked out of the ISL following a penalty shootout against the Islanders.

The short end of the stick was what Goa was left with after a nail-biting finish to the second leg of the first Indian Super League (ISL) 2020-21 semifinal. Juan Ferrando and his men fought hard against the League Champions,  matching blow for blow, at times even being the dominant face on the pitch. However, luck was not by their side as Mumbai City FC progressed to the semifinals after an edge-of-the-seat penalty shootout that the Islanders won 6-5.

It was a gruelling contest according to the Gaurs head coach, Ferrando. He would feel hard done by but he was supremely satisfied with the total effort put forth by his team during the 180 plus minutes on the pitch.

“The two games were very difficult. I am very happy with the performance. I think it is necessary to commend the great job done by the coaching staff and the players. Of course, we are upset about the penalties. But I’m happy about the overall job,” he said, in the post-match press conference.

Decision to substitute Dheeraj Singh for Naveen Kumar

WATCH: ISL 2020-21 | Juan Ferrando’s post-match press conference | Mumbai City Vs FC Goa

The late decision from Juan Ferrando, to change Dheeraj for Naveen between the sticks was a key factor in the game. “Naveen is very passionate. He is very good at technical details. We decided at the last minute to put Naveen because we know about the job he can do during penalties,” the tactician reasoned.

General thoughts on the team

The ambience and the atmosphere surrounding the Gaurs’ dressing room plays a vital role in pushing the team beyond their limits, a feat that was witnessed during the course of the second leg.

Speaking about this, Juan Ferrando said, “The team was good. The spirit seemed very positive and strong. All the players were ready. All the players more-or-less participated in the semifinal. Everybody wants to help the team. Everybody was good on the pitch. At the end, this is the most important thing for us. Because in these very difficult moments, everyone got together and helped the team.”

Decision to exclude Igor Angulo from the starting XI

Igor Angulo, the Gaurs’ top-scorer was not in the starting squad put out by the Spanish coach, a surprising choice given the potency the striker has.

“Igor was fit. But we decided at first to play 4-3-3, without a No.9 and then changed it to a 4-3-3 with a No. 9 and then to 4-4-2 with two No.9s. The decision was a tactical one, thinking about the best system against Mumbai depending on the moment of the game.  We prepare the plans and use them accordingly. In the end, unfortunately, we didn’t have the desired success.” Ferrando signed off.

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