FC Goa is one of the strongest teams in the upcoming season of the Indian Super League (ISL). The Gaurs have a very stable system, and unlike other clubs, have retained the manager and many central players. They finished fourth last season and delivered an incredible performance in the AFC Champions League. The outfit also went on to win the very recent 2021 Durand Cup. Thus is a strong title contender for the upcoming season of the ISL.
Juan Ferrando is one of the youngest head coaches in the league. However, the 40-year-old has earned a lot of praise for being tactically astute. The upcoming season will be the second one for the Spaniard where he will look to improve on last season. The competitive nature of the ISL is going to make the challenge even tougher, but the gaffer is looking ahead to it nevertheless.
Here is what Juan Ferrando had to say on a range of topics concerning the squad, the competition, his players, and more:
Past not a hindrance
FC Goa are yet to win the ISL and they could not navigate their way out of the semi-final last year. Ferrando was asked if not winning the title in the past adds extra pressure to which he responded by saying, "To be honest, no because that is the past. This is a new season, this is a new chapter. The most important thing for me is that I know the players and the players know me, more or less we have the same (team and staff). I think this is a big positive. It is important to focus on the present. We learn some details from the past, but the past is the past."
Content with continuation
As aforementioned, Juan Ferrando is into his second season in the ISL and will hope to guide FC Goa to their maiden league title. The league is infamous for witnessing very frequent managerial changes, but the Gaurs have retained the Spaniard. Talking about this fact, he said that, "I am happy with the club as they trust in my process. We must not forget to control our emotions, players are not robots, they and the team have emotions. For me, it's very important that the players feel ready and the mentality is positive."
Improvement is the aim
Touching upon the change in the team as compared to last season, Ferrando suggested that the correct word would be an improvement. While talking about the difference in the team from last season, he suggested that there is a good squad depth without any major changes. "I think the word is not 'changed', but 'improve'. For me, my target is that my team plays one style but also in my point of view...and if there are any suspensions or injuries, the level of the team remains more or less the same," he says while talking about squad depth and the need to keep improving.
More intense competition
The Spaniard also talked about teams that were in and around them in the final league standings. He acknowledges that ATK Mohun Bagan and Mumbai City FC have really strong squads, yet the league's overall competition has increased. He said that "My point of view is that (ISL) is very very competitive this year. Everyone knows about the squad of Hyderabad, their performance, and then Ogbeche, my point is Hyderabad are more improved than last season. Odisha have a very good squad, Jamshedpur is more or less like us (consistent), Chennaiyin FC is a completely new team but a good team."
"For me, more important is to study the opponents and after 4-5 games we will see what happens with the ISL," he continued.
Updates on Jorge Ortiz and Muhammed Nemil
The gaffer also provided updates on key attacking players Jorge Ortiz and Muhammed Nemil who are currently nursing injuries. The Spaniard forward Ortiz is an integral part of FC Goa's attack, Nemil is a very promising young attacker who impressed in the Durand Cup.
While providing an update on the duo, Ferrando said that "They are in the process of recovery. The last two months were difficult for Jorge and as well as Nemil. But I am happy because if players are injured, they normally work with the medical team, but they want to get involved with the team. I know they are working every day in the gym or in the evening on the pitch. For me, hats off to the players who are injured and still want to join the team."
"We will see if the players are ready and can help the team," the tactician further added.