News Article

Lobera pleased to have controlled the game, Westwood frustrated by lack of results


The Gaurs produced a clinical performance as they put five past the hapless Bengal Tigers.

FC Goa overcame defending champions ATK in a comprehensive 5 – 1 victory at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa on Wednesday in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18. The three points ensure that the Gaurs now occupy the fourth position in the league standings, where a win or draw against their next opponents Jamshedpur FC will seal them a semi-final berth.

After the hosts dominating display, their head coach Sergio Lobera spoke to the media during the post-match press conference, where he admitted that though no performance could be perfect, he was pleased with the form his team displayed on the pitch. “I don’t think perfection exists; there are always things and aspects we can improve upon,” he stated. “But it is true that I am very happy with the performance that my players put out there today. I think the football that we played today and with the mentality that we had, we read the first part of the game very well.”

He further added, “We were taking on a team that was going through a negative phase and it was important that we begin the match well. I am happy with the result and the performance of the players, but the most important thing now is the match that comes up next week (against Jamshedpur).”

The Spaniard also highlighted the fact that his team had control over the majority of the game. “I think we had control of the game, had the best chances and were effective in making sure we scored the goals,” inferred Lobera. “I am very happy with the way our team started the match and finished the game. During the middle, it got a little taxing on us. But it’s also normal because we are coming after having played a lot of games in a very little time. Now, the important thing is to ensure that the team recovers in time for the next match.”

The 41-year-old ended by lauding the character of his team who picked up their form after going through a lean phase in between. “It is true that we were not at our best during the phase where we got just two points from five games,” he remarked. “We deserved a lot more. I think the start of the season was very good for us. But the most important aspect of the season is that the team knew how to put themselves out there, which was last week. We have 27 points, which is a good tally. The most important thing is that in these last two matches, we have recovered the sensation in the team.”

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Addressing the media during the post-match press conference was their interim head-coach Ashley Westwood, under whom the team is yet to register a win. The Englishman opined that his side were the better team for the opening few minutes before they gifted Goa a way to take the game away. “We had a game plan and I thought we started very well,” he stated. “For the first few minutes, we were the best side. They found it hard getting into the game and we had a few chances. But then we conceded from a set-piece and that was almost a free-header.”

He further elaborated, “You can talk about tactics, you can talk about anything, but if you don’t stop conceding from set-pieces and give them an easy goal, it is going to be hard. Especially, when you are low on confidence. We had such a poor run and once more our backs are against the walls. They get a lift because they scored the goal and then it’s hard to match their attacking players.”

The 41-year-old also admitted that injuries to key players was a major reason for the team’s poor show in the league this season. “Collectively across the tournament, without a doubt, injuries have been a reason for our form,” he remarked. “And if you take all the key foreigners out, then you are going to struggle. Add to that we also had Eugeneson (Lyngdoh), who is one of the best Indian players in the country, missing due to injury. We had around 40 injuries across the season in 17 games which is an alarmingly high number.”

Before wrapping up, Westwood also shared his frustration at not getting any results out of the team. “It’s extremely frustrating. I find it emotionally hard because you always want to be a winner,” he revealed. “I am a winner as a player and as a coach. But I also know how to make a winning side. You need to get the players early and put the system in place. You have to take care of fitness, nutrition and drive team-spirit, and as a coach you have to obviously educate. And when you come to a side that was not doing well and had many injuries as well, it is hard to affect it.”


Published: Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:01 AM IST


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