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My advice to Chhangte is to perform well in the remaining fixtures and Super Cup- Josep Gombau

Written by: Neelav Chakravarti

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The Spaniard also said that the capital club need to play better, so that more home fans flock to the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

Ahead of their last home fixture of the 2018-19 Indian Super League season, Delhi Dynamos tactician Josep Gombau and star winger Lallianzuala Chhangte met the media to discuss the upcoming clash against Bengaluru FC amongst many other things.

On the back of a testing trial in Norway with Viking FK, the former DSK Shivajians player spoke about his experience in the Scandinavian country. He said, "It was a great experience, even though it was for a short period of time. The coaches and players are very friendly there. They don't shout at you even if you make a mistake. They encouraged me a lot."

Originally the 21-year-old was supposed to be on a 10-day trial with the Eliteserien outfit, which soon got reduced to four, with the player training with the outfit for two days. As expected, the Indian international expressed how the game is different there than in India. "Their playing style is very fast and also technically they are very good," the former NorthEast United player quipped.

When asked about the training sessions in Norway he said, "The sessions were very light, started off with a very good way of warming up as it is very cold there. We played small games, coupled with finishing and crossing practice. I really loved it there. I also think that the coaches were happy with me."

It is a known fact in the Indian football fraternity that the level of the game here is not the same as it is in Europe. For an Indian to ply his or her trade there, a player has to go through a vast change in training and has to work a lot harder. On this the youngster said, "I think I am getting used to practicing with them. Their quality is much better compared to Indians. I think I can fit in there, if I work harder. So, let's see what happens!"

He further added, "The game is very physical there. I have to improve in terms of fitness. Their technique is really good, by which I mean their first touch. They are also very professional in every aspect, including even receiving me in Norway."

The weather in Norway is a complete contrast to how it is in India. It is cold there, while here it is warmer. "I think I can manage it. As back in my hometown in Mizoram, it is very cold there. I was the only one to wear shorts in training."


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When asked if the club will contact him about the trial, he stated that the side will communicate with his agent and the result could be decided in a few months.

Meanwhile, the Dynamos' head coach Gombau seemed to be in a positive mood, a complete contrast to how his team have performed in the league. Delhi are currently 9th, a position higher than bottom-dwellers Chennaiyin FC.

"If you see the results, we are unhappy as we haven't made it to the playoffs," the Spaniard stated. He also added, "But, there have been some good developments too. In terms of the future, we have some good youngsters like Vinit Rai, Chhangte, Shubham Sarangi and Nandhakumar Sekar."

In their home fixtures at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the stands have been usually empty. "We would obviously want more fans, but it is understandable as football is still growing here. It is not a big sport in India, so we need to play better football, so that fans flock to the stadium," the former Barcelona youth coach quipped.

Regarding Chhangte, Gombau said, "My advice to him is to perform good in the remaining fixtures and the Super Cup. The better he performs, the better are his chances to go to Europe. He is a young player with a lot of quality."

During the interaction, the former Amposta coach revealed that Delhi's main focus is the Super Cup now. "I think the Super Cup is a very important trophy for us," said Gombau.

Delhi face table-toppers Bengaluru in their next match. When asked about the encounter he said, "They are at the top and have quality players. It will be a tough game for us, but I think we have been doing quite well in our last few games. So, we will put on a good show."

Published: Sun Feb 17, 2019 12:04 PM IST

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