The Spaniard reiterated that developing young players is a considerable part of the vision for the Gaurs.

After a disappointing defeat against league rivals Mumbai City in their Indian Super League (ISL) campaign opener, FC Goa will be locking horns against Jamshedpur FC on Friday at the GMC Athletic Stadium. The Gaurs are one of the most exciting teams in the Indian Super League (ISL) this season, which brings the burden of expectations on them. Ahead of the game, FC Goa head coach Juan Ferrando spoke in the pre-match press conference regarding a host of topics.

The Spaniard was accompanied by midfielder Glan Martins to the interaction, who also added his bits to the press.

Focusing on the upcoming game

Prior to their previous match against Mumbai City, FC Goa enjoyed a 15-match unbeaten streak. Now that the record has come to an end, Juan Ferrando insists he is only looking forward to the upcoming game.

“Of course it is not easy. In my point of view, our performance in the first game was not good. I’m thinking only about tomorrow’s match. For me the most important is the late because we work in our plan, our style and I think it’s okay. Of course, it is necessary to learn but put focus on the next game. I think this is the most important in this moment,” he was quoted.

The tactician also revealed that the Gaurs are not happy about the defeat against Mumbai City in the opening game but is looking ahead to overcome the Jamshedpur challenge.

“Of course, we are not happy. Surely, the team is not happy about the performance but this is football. We have a new challenge tomorrow,” he added.

Areas the team lacked

The FC Goa squad is an amalgamation of youth and experience. Juan Ferrando was asked regarding what is it that he felt his squad lacked in the previous game.

“(We lacked) in transitions. When we lose the ball, it’s very important to be more compact between the lines. For example, in the second half — few times we lost the ball and then the transition was not good.

“The next one is a foul. I think it’s very important to control the space when we are in attack, build-up. In case, we lose the ball, it is important to press because in this case the opponent has lot of space. It is difficult for us to defend this action.”

Airam Cabrera’s performance

The Spaniard made his debut for FC Goa November 22 against Mumbai City but failed to convince many. While the reason could well have been match fitness or adapting to the Indian conditions, Ferrando was asked about his opinions on Cabrera.

“Airam (Cabrera) joined us a month ago. Normally, he is working hard to improve his performance. For me the most important is to help him to understand our style and methodology. I have no pressure as gradually his performance will be good. For me, the most important is, when we are working in defence — he is working. When we are in attack, he uses good positional attack.

“Primarily, there is pressure on him. I understand it’s not so easy and it’s also our job to help him and the rest of the players. Most important, is the team to improve day-by-day. Of course, maybe the start to the season was not good but day-by-day, game-by-game we will be better,” Juan Ferrando stated.

Thoughts on Jorge Ortiz and Seriton Fernandes

Veterans Jorge Ortiz and Seriton fernandes started on the bench against the reigning league champions, which came as a shock to many. However, Juan Ferrando explained the reasons behind his decision.

“(Jorge) Ortiz was injured during the Durand Cup. Seriton (Fernandes) was in the national team. Then they joined the training,” he began.

“It’s like a normal process, no special details. Some players like Brandon (Fernandes), when there are injuries, we need to keep calm. We need to give them some time step-by-step. We decide primarily to play them for 90 minutes. Maybe it’s a risk as they may lose three, four or five games. For me it’s important to think for them and then step-by-step to work with them,” he continued.

Jorge Ortiz to start against Jamshedpur?

Jorge Ortiz scored a brace in the last encounter between FC Goa and Jamshedpur FC, which certainly calls for his experience against the Men of Steel to the starting XI. Speaking about whether the forward will be part of the starting XI against Jamshedpur FC, Juan Ferrando revealed he is yet to decide on it.

“The decision will be taken tomorrow (smiling). The same goes for other players also. He (Ortiz) was injured. He joined the team at the end of the training sessions. We’ll think step-by-step.

“Of course, it’s difficult to take their (injured players’) best performance primarily. They need training. They need playing minutes. But after big injuries, it is necessary for the coaching staff to think about their muscles, hamstring, groin, thighs. It’s very important to control the body and their performance,” he explained.

Changes in the right side of the defensive third?

The right side of FC Goa looked far from impressive in their previous outing. Leander D’Cunha, who had a memorable Durand Cup campaign failed to live up to the expectations.

“The decision will be taken tomorrow. In the last match, Leander (D’Cunha) and Papuia (Lalmangaihsanga) played together for the first time. In FC Goa, there exists two targets: To win the games and to improve all the players. In this case, it was Leander and Papuia. It’s necessary to continue working with them, to continue their improvement.

“I’m not so scared. I trust in all my 29 players. Sometimes, if Seriton is injured, I trust in Leander. If Leander is ready, I play him. Same is with the wingers; Nongdamba (Naorem), Romario (Jesuraj), (Makan Winkle) Chothe. I have the best 29 players and for me it is very important to work with them,” he remarked.

Inexperience in defence

“To be honest, I have trust in Leander (D’Cunha), Papuia (Lalmangaihsanga) and Sanson (Pereira). Of course, they don’t have experience but that comes with playing. Of course, no excuses for our loss. Our plan wasn’t successful. But I trust these players. In case, if FC Goa need them, they can use them,” Juan Ferrando opined.

“I understand, maybe everybody is talking about the experience of Sanson, Leander and Papuia but like a head coach, for me the most important is to help them. This is our future. Of course, their performance wasn’t good. My target is to continue to work and give them more chances in future and to improve. An then we’ll see what happens,” he added.

Saviour Gama as a winger

Primarily a left-back, Saviour Gama played as a winger against Mumbai City. He seemed uncomfortable and had to be subbed off later.

“No. It’s thinking to prepare the plan. In the last friendly games, we played with different wingers. In the last moment, last week, Redeem (Tlang) was injured. (Jorge) Ortiz was in the process of recovery. Nongdamba (Naorem) was out for six months and was not ready to play 90 minutes. In this moment, we decided to play with Gama as a winger. But that’s fine,” he stated.

“I think the performance of the team was not good, not only Gama or the right-back or the left-back. We tried to do the best. At the end we had no success. At this moment, we are thinking about the next game, to prepare the new plan and be positive because tomorrow we have a new opportunity,” the 40-year-old added.

Injury updates

FC Goa have a few injuries ahead of their game against Jamshedpur FC. “Brandon is injured. He is in the process of recovery. At this moment it’s not so easy. Redeem (Tlang) is also injured. (Muhammed) Nemil (Valiyattil) is now in the last part of the process of recovery. We’ll see and wait until the last moment. But Redeem and Brandon need treatment. They need a good process. In this case, it is very difficult to talk about the time of recovery,” he revealed.

Glan Martins on reaction in dressing room after Mumbai City loss

The midfielder accompanied Juan Ferrando to the interaction and was asked about the reaction in the dressing room following the defeat against league rivals Mumbai.

“It was very difficult for all the players. We were all frustrated because it was our first match and we lost 3-0. But then, we also know that we have one more match coming up this week. So, from the time we entered the dressing room, we started focusing on the next match. We started the work from the next day itself and I think we are ready for the challenge to face tomorrow,” he concluded.

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