The Spaniard also insisted that his team do not need to feel the pressure of playing at a packed stadium in Kochi.

Ahead of his side’s away trip to Kerala Blasters, FC Goa head coach Sergio Lobera interacted with the media in a pre-match press conference. Both sides will lock horns at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Sunday evening in an attempt to get back to winning ways, with the two clubs having faced defeats in their last league game.

The Gaurs’ 0-1 defeat to Jamshedpur at home was their first of the season, with the Goans having won two and drawn as many of their four games before that. While they now have a challenging away trip to Kerala on the horizon, Sergio Lobera insists that his side will go into the game on Sunday with a positive mentality.

“(The mentality is) always positive. I think the last match is in the past. We need to focus on the future and I think always our mentality is good to play one match. Good mentality,” Sergio Lobera asserted.

Coping With Player Suspensions

Goa have some players unavailable due to suspension going into the game on Sunday. Foreigners Hugo Boumous and Ahmed Jahouh, as well as Seiminlen Doungel, are suspended for the Kerala game. However, Sergio Lobera has expressed his confidence in his squad, which he believes is not just about a few individual players.

“I have a good squad and not just good individual players. Obviously, missing the players is difficult for us because I need to invent some things for the next match. It’s not possible to play all players in the (preferred) position. I need to take some chances, not only in the first XI (but also) during the match, because sometimes, people only think about the first XI,” the Spaniard explained.

“During the match, you need some options. When you don’t have the full squad, three players suspended, some injuries, it is difficult to change the situation during the match, because on the bench there are not too many opportunities to change it,” he said.

On Kerala Blasters

Despite kicking off their campaign with a victory against ATK at home, Kerala Blasters have struggled to find momentum this season, failing to win any of their last four games. While the Yellow Army currently sit ninth in the league table, Sergio Lobera believes they have a squad good enough to win the title.

“Kerala, I think, is a very good team. The club have taken a big effort to sign very good players. For example, (Bartholomew) Ogbeche – maybe the best player last season – signed for Kerala. (Gianni) Zuiverloon – maybe the best player in Delhi – signed for Kerala. (Sergio Cidoncha) Cido and (Mario ) Arques – maybe the two best players in Jamshedpur – signed for Kerala,” he pointed out.

“I think Kerala have a good team to win the league – to play the playoffs and win the league. Now, the situation for them is difficult because maybe they are feeling pressure in the situation. But, the important thing for me is my team play well. My team have worked above the circumstances and to try to get the three points,” the 42-year-old remarked.

On Kochi Crowd & Atmosphere

The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi is popular for its atmosphere when Kerala Blasters are playing, thanks to their fanbase – Manjappada. While the stadium is considered intimidating by some, Sergio Lobera, who is delighted to come away to Kerala, feels there is no extra pressure on his team.

“It is amazing to play in Kerala. It is wonderful to play in this ground. I think all professionals work to play every match, at home or away, with this atmosphere, this stadium. For us, I think, it is important to feel the motivation to play in this circumstance,” Sergio Lobera quipped.

“I don’t think it is more pressure for us and is difficult for us. As a coach, I want to play every match with the full stadium sold out and in this atmosphere,” he concluded.