Exclusive: John Johnson is the toughest defender I have faced in the ISL- Ferran Corominas
Written by: Sourav Neogi
The 36-year-old striker feels that retaining of core members by FC Goa will be an added advantage next season.
After another impressive season with FC Goa under his belt, Ferran Corominas signed a contract extension with the Gaurs last month. The Spaniard was arguably the best performer in the league, as he notched up the highest scorer award with 16 goals from 20 appearances. As the season concluded, the 36-year-old was approached by a flurry of Indian clubs, however, decided against moving to a new challenge and agreed to stay at Goa for another season.
Khel Now had the unique experience of sitting down with the striker as he talked about last season, his experience in the league in his second season, his club and more.
FC Goa have come close to the title two times in the last five seasons; however, have never been on the winning side at the end. Under the tutelage of Sergio Lobera, the last two seasons have been fruitful for the Gaurs faithful yet the club have failed to secure the league title. Talking about his ambitions for the next season, Coro was particularly to the point as he spoke, "The reason I stayed at Goa it is because I am happy here and because I believe we can win the title."
Last edition of the league was Corominas' second season in the ISL as he broke Iain Hume's record of being the highest goalscorer of the league. While questions have always been there regarding the defensive organizations of ISL sides, Coro squashed all the allegations.
"I do not think there are bad defences," Corominas opined before adding, "I think we have a good attack and with our style of play, we create many chances."
The Spaniard also identified the toughest defender he has faced in the league till date, "There are several players I could say, but if I have to pick one, I would say John Johnson," Corominas maintained.
Subsequently, FC Goa scored the highest numbers of goals (36) in the 2018-19 season under Sergio Lobera.
Despite being the highest scoring unit in the league, FC Goa went down against a mighty Bengaluru FC side in the final, where sometimes it felt nothing was going alright for the Gaurs.
Corominas believes FC Goa were the better side on the night, however, lack of goals in the second half and the exclusion of Ahmed Jahouh forced them to a defeat against the Blues.
"I think we were better overall in the final against Bengaluru. There was a phase in the second part of the game that we dominated but were not able to convert the domination into a goal. After the expulsion of Jahouh, we tried to hold on and get to the penalties, but it was not to be," the 36-year-old quipped.
Watch: Brandon Fernandes was part of the Indian squad in the King's Cup
Apart from Ferran Corominas, FC Goa's impressive season was testimonial of display of another player, Brandon Fernandes. The midfielder was picked in the Indian national team by newly appointed head coach Igor Stimac and even made an appearance in a 3-1 defeat against Curacao in the King's Cup.
Speaking about Fernandes in particular, Corominas thinks Brandon has to keep up his level of commitment and can not relax if he aims to be successful in the national fold as well.
"He [Brandon Fernandes] is a very good player. He, however, has to maintain his level of commitment and not relax."
Corominas' rampant performance in front of opposition bars have helped him gain a number of admirers and ISL outfit ATK is one of them. The Kolkata-based side failed to live upto expectations under Steve Coppell as they failed to deliver goals in important moments which left them in the sixth position in the standings.
However, similar to last season, ATK are currently out in the transfer market trying to strengthen their team to challenge for the title in the next season. They have already roped in East Bengal's Jobby Justin and were targeting the services of Corominas, which at the end did not bear any fruits.
"It is true that I spoke with ATK but [I am] always saying that Goa was my first choice. I stayed because we are happy here and people trust me here," he revealed.
Watch: Doru Isac thinks Indian football is not in a state of conflict
After the emergence of Indian Super League, Indian football is portrayed in a mixed way to the outside world, especially in Europe, as per Indian football team's newly appointed technical director Doru Isac when he along with Igor Stimac spoke in their first ever press conference in the country last month. When asked about if that is the issue in Spain, where majority of the population are interested in LaLiga and other top European leagues, Corominas didn't sound very optimistic about ISL.
"I suppose he meant that there are fewer teams and in 12 days you may have to play three games and then there will be two weeks without playing. Also, the system that ends in playoff to know the winner, is not very well accepted in Europe because, in the end, it is not a regular league. It is a mixture of a league and a cup."
Ferran Corominas is not the first person to raise questions about the fixtures of the league as previously several coaches, e.g. Steve Coppell has raised questions about it as well.
While the past decade and the decades before that had seen African footballers getting the nod over European footballers in India by different clubs in terms of recruiting foreign footballers, recent times have seen a certain Spanish dominance in Indian leagues. Ferran Corominas, Pedro Manzi, Manuel Lanzarote, Edu Bedia, Nestor Gordillo etc have been lynchpins of their respective sides while other clubs are also opting for more Spanish players each day.
According to Corominas, the Spanish players are currently having the upper hand because of their technical and tactical superiority over players from other countries.
"I think that Spanish players are tactically and technically good and the style of play is colourful," he stated.
While most of the ISL teams are currently in the transfer market, trying to strengthen their sides for the upcoming season, FC Goa has been concentrating on retaining their star players as they have extended the contracts of multiple players, one of them being Ferran Corominas himself.
While asked if the retaining of important core members of the squad will be an added advantage over other sides next season, Corominas sounded optimistic as he said, "Obviously, to continue with most of the players, benefit us because we know each other and know what each one can do."
"Thanks to all the fans for the unconditional support and I hope you continue with this illusion. This year the ISL has to come to Goa!" Corominas signed off with a confident message to the FC Goa fans.
Published: Mon Jun 10, 2019 03:37 AM IST