Sergio Lobera warns about fielding 'best XI', Jorge Costa recognizes 'difficult job'
Written by: Atrayo Bhattacharya
The Gaurs currently hold a 5-1 advantage going into the second leg against the Islanders.
FC Goa are set to host Mumbai City FC in the return leg of the second playoff in the Indian Super League. Sergio Lobera's men have a healthy 5-1 lead coming into the home leg against Mumbai, courtesy of a brace from defender Mourtada Fall. It will be an uphill task for Jorge Costa's men as the Islanders will have to score four goals without reply to have any hopes of qualifying for the final.
Sergio Lobera (FC Goa)
Sergio Lobera has been spot on with his tactics against the Islanders in the previous meeting as well, but the Spaniard tactfully answered when asked about his secret to success.
The Gaurs have got the better of Mumbai City on three occasions this season and hence Lobera was asked about his tactical awareness and how he manages to come up with the best tactics against the Islanders.
He stated, "I think what we have done in the past is something in the past, but we have to keep working on the same path and try to win our last game at home."
The Spaniard was quizzed about whether he would like to rest some of his key players for the home leg, considering the mountain that the away side need to climb and only show his cards if the situation demands.
On this he asserted, "I am going to field the best XI against Mumbai City tomorrow because we should not get ahead of ourselves, as we are not in the final yet and we need to respect our opponents as they are a great side."
Goa have had their own style of play, incorporating a goalkeeper who is good with his distributions is a must in Lobera's system. In the past, Mohammed Nawaz was the man preferred between the sticks, but now due to injuries, it has been Naveen Kumar replacing the youngster.
"I think as a coach the best problem is to decide between good players. I have two great goalkeepers. Nawaz had to miss out from the first-team which no-one wanted and now both the keepers are in good shape to get in the starting XI," the former Barcelona youth coach said about his shot-stoppers.
The Gaurs have failed to overturn a match after conceding early, but in the playoffs against Mumbai, Lobera's men made a stunning comeback. Asked about it he was very satisfied with his side's efforts.
"Playoffs are a completely different story to the league games. It is not necessary for the team to go only through good moments. Most important is to play as a team and there will be good and bad moments in football. I am happy with the team and their reaction after conceding the first goal," Lobera concluded.
Jorge Costa (Mumbai City FC)
The Portuguese tactician started the press conference explaining the chances they have in the game considering the heavy 1-5 defeat at home.
He said, "These things happen in football and in life. It is very very difficult, but to be very honest I still feel we have a chance."
"I have been associated with football for 30 years now and I have seen things happen in football like no-one else. I believe that we can win the match, we have a very good team. We will try to respect the opponent, our fans and then try and win the match," he added.
It is natural that the first leg defeat was a huge setback for the Islanders and it is often very difficult to come back in the next game, being menatlly exhausted. Costa was asked about the reaction of his players after the humiliating loss.
"I think we played our best football in the first half despite going 1-2 down in the break. We had the lead and then again scored which was offside. Their goalkeeper made some great saves, we had most of the ball in that period. It was difficult to take a defeat like this for the players. So, that's why I am here as a coach. I am here when we win and I am here when we lose and so are the players. I feel the coach, players and staff must be honest with their job," he added.
Costa concluded by speaking about the lack of focus in his team's defence in the first leg. He said that if they would have lost 2-1 there would have been a huge opportunity to go through in the second leg, but now things are very difficult.
There are no injuries for either side, as both teams have fully fit squads available for the crucial fixture.
Mumbai City FC
Did You Know?
In the last four matches, Goa have scored a whopping 15 goals and conceded five against Mumbai City.
Mumbai are yet to win a game in the knockout stages o thef ISL.
Mumbai City have scored 11 goals from counter-attacks this season, the highest in the league.
The match will be live from 7:30 PM IST from the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Goa. It will be broadcast on the Star Sports Network and will also be streamed on Hotstar and Jio TV.
Published: Mon Mar 11, 2019 09:59 PM IST