Odisha FC have had the worst possible starts to life. In their first two matches of the Indian Super League (ISL), they have suffered two losses and are currently languishing at the bottom of the table. Such has been the situation, that the club is finding it tough to grow its newly-formed fan base. A couple of positive results would definitely do a whole lot of good but the road ahead is uphill.
On Thursday, Odisha face last year’s semifinalists Mumbai City FC away from home before hosting an in-form ATK in their first-ever home match. The Bridge reached out to Umesh k Dharua, a member of The Juggernauts, the official fan club of Odisha FC, to discuss the team’s chances of bouncing back in the league, Mumbai City’s strengths and more. Here are excerpts:
Q> 2 losses in 2 matches, how tough is it for the fans to digest the results?
It’s something very hard for us to digest. As it’s a newly formed club, we’re having a hard time to get new fans joining the army. But on the positive side, it is important to note that we have grown organically and at least a minimum of 50 fans are attending the screenings. It’s obviously something we cherish a lot. We are hoping to get to back to winning ways so that more and more fan will join us for the screenings. Obviously, a positive result will encourage more fans to join the stand.
Q> Can Odisha bounce back after the two defeats, today?
Yes, surely. We’re more hopeful of getting back to winning ways. What we have lacked is just being sloppy at back and I do believe the coach and the assistant must have worked on this after Delgado’s red card. Most probably, (I hope) Gaurav Bora will start. And I believe Rana will start as well. I believe we can sort our defence out.
Q> Where do you think it’s going all wrong, what changes need to be made?
The main problem is our system. A 4-2-3-1 demands magic from the midfield duo. Vinit’s passing is good, but still, we are lacking creativity and playmaking in midfield. We have players of that calibre, but we are just being sloppy at back and no one is there to guard the back four.
When we’re going forward at least one of the two holders needs to stay back. Narayan is not in form. Fanai is his natural replacement. Let’s see what the coach’s tactics are for the match.
Q> Mumbai’s danger men to look out for
Paulo Machado, Amrinder and Chermiti. And Carlos on the right flank (as Narayan not having a great time). All three of them are doing very well and are absolutely on top of their game with respect to their position. We must not forget for this fixture against Odisha, they have to go for all-Indian defence… most probably, Subhasish-Sarthak-Pratik-Valpuia, so that should be an area to exploit.
Q> Realistic predictions…
3-1 in favour of Odisha FC. Xisco, Aridane, Martin Perez to score for us!