FC Goa head coach Juan Ferrando spoke to the media on the eve of his side’s first Indian Super League (ISL) match against Bengaluru FC on Sunday. Read on for excerpts from the pre-match press conference.
On the lack of a full pre-season and its potential impact
As we all know the pre-season was extremely short this time around. Most of the players have had only about six weeks to work together in training before the start of the ISL season. That makes it impossible for them to get back to peak intensity right away. We will have to protect the players from muscle injuries and manage their workload efficiently. On the pitch, we will have to control our emotions, be cautious and improve with each passing game.
On Bengaluru FC and the challenge of facing them
Of course, tomorrow we play against a very dangerous team. They have had the same coach for two seasons now and play with a distinct philosophy. But our mentality is positive. The players are looking forward and ready for tomorrow. We have to be compact in our gameplay. I know all about the rivalry between the two sides and I am focused on my team and what we can do to win tomorrow. Bengaluru FC have been a very consistent side in the ISL but this is a new season and everybody starts from scratch. Our focus is on our objectives. We are not thinking about what happened in the past.
On if his team is ready for the new season
In pre-season you can do a lot of work on a lot of things, but what matters is what happens during matches. We have to show that we have the right mentality. The ISL is a difficult league and is getting more competitive with every season. We have to execute our plans in defence and attack, play good football and compete throughout the season. At this point, it is difficult to be ready for 90 minutes of high-intensity football but the squad is fit and raring to go.
On Sergio Lobera’s legacy at the club
He has done a great job in his three seasons at the club and developed a competitive side. However, this is a new chapter for the club. We have brought in a number of good new players and it is important that they get to know each other and develop an understanding. We have to be mentally strong and improve every day and focus on one game at a time, starting with Bengaluru.
On the expectations surrounding Ishan Pandita after impressing in the Spanish lower divisions
For us he is a new player who is extremely talented and is working very hard in pre-season. It is a great opportunity for him in this season’s ISL to show everyone what he can do. He is working well with the other boys and hopefully he can do well because he plays in an important position.
On missing the atmosphere inside the stadium and the fans
We will definitely miss the fans. As coaches, our job is to help the players and make them better with time and everything we do is for the fans. I like it when we get messages of support from fans because it inspires the players a lot. I understand it is a difficult situation this year and all I can do is request them to keep supporting us from their homes.