The FC Goa coach also admitted that it’s a ‘do or die’ phase for his team in the league.

Chennaiyin FC will look to build on the winning momentum and break into the top four when they take on Derrick Pereira – led FC Goa in the 2021-22 Indian Super League (ISL) at the Athletic Stadium in Bambolim on Saturday.

Placed sixth in the points table, Chennaiyin have 14 points in their kitty from nine games and with a win on the morrow, they can end the first half of the season inside the top-four.

For FC Goa, their performance against Kerala Blasters betrayed a lot of character and head coach Derrick Pereira can draw a lot of heart from that display. Goa will depend a lot on midfield lynchpin Edu Bedia who scored a wonderful Olympic goal to help the Gaurs draw 2-2 against Kerala Blasters. Ahead of the clash, both teams’ head coaches – Derrick Pereira and Bozidar Bandovic – spoke to the media.

FC Goa coach Derrick Pereira

Aim for the rest of the season

Derrick Pereira: From now onwards, it’s do-or-die for us. We have to go for all three points. We have to plan in such a way that we go for the maximum. I have been told good things from other coaches about the team. The standing doesn’t truly reflect the way we have played over the past few games. We need to continue in the same vein and have belief in ourselves.

Injuries and suspensions

Derrick Pereira: Injuries and suspensions, especially to players playing up front have been tough on us and a big reason why we have only scored 13 goals in our 9 matches.

Over the last 3-4 games, we have been able to name more or less the same squad. Since we have got them back, we have to look to build an understanding amongst them and create more opportunities. A good win, I believe, will give us the confidence and motivation to do well in the remaining games.

About Chennaiyin FC

Derrick Pereira: Every team brings a whole new challenge for us. With Chennai, we have seen how they play and it has been effective for them. They are a compact team and we have to seek out a plan to get the better of them.”

Chennaiyin FC coach Bozidar Bandovic

CFC’s play-off chances

Bozidar Bandovic: We are a new team and had a new start and process. Till this moment I am satisfied and we are satisfied with how things are going. There are a lot more games to play and I don’t want to think that far ahead. 

For me and the team, we are thinking only about the game tomorrow and another chance to get three points. We want to go game-by-game and I want the team to concentrate on tomorrow’s match. I’m not thinking about how many points we need (to qualify).

Ariel Borysiuk’s and Nerijus Valskis’ availability

Bozidar Bandovic: Valskis will be available and Ariel will be skipping the game. He is feeling much better but we will see how it goes ahead of the game on the 13th.

Thoughts on FC Goa’s midfield strength

Bozidar Bandovic: They have some very good players in midfield. They move the ball very well, these two players that you mentioned (Edu Bedia and Noguera) are very good in the open ball. (Jorge) Ortiz is also very dangerous upfront. 

We need to be very good and tight defensively and need to put close pressures. We cannot let them play the ball easily. We need to show discipline and concentration.

Thoughts on title race

Bozidar Bandovic: For me, the only thing is tomorrow’ game. If there are better teams, they would have more points than us. There are teams like ATK (Mohun Bagan) who are stronger than us and there are some stronger teams. 

Most of their players have stayed and they have had this team for a few years. We have a new team but we have shown till today that we can compete. We need to believe in the biggest (getting to the top of the table) prize. There are some really good teams like Mumbai, ATKMB etc. It is definitely going to be a challenge (getting to the playoffs).

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