Derrick Pereira – January has been a tough month for us

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FC Goa are currently placed ninth on the points table, the Gaurs team have an opportunity to rise to eighth place by the time when the full-time whistle blows if they are able to overcome Odisha FC who are placed on the eighth spot. FC Goa lost 1-0 to Jamshedpur FC in their last game. Meanwhile, Odisha FC narrowly lost to Hyderabad FC in a thrilling game where the Nizams edged the Juggernauts by a 3-2 scoreline. It is expected to be a tightly contested battle between Odisha FC and FC Goa in tomorrow’s game as both the teams are ranked in similar positions.

FC Goa coach Derrick Pereira addressed the media in the pre-match press conference ahead of their game against Odisha FC on Tuesday, 1st February at the GMC Athletic Stadium in Bambolim, Goa.

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Here are the excerpts of coach Derrick Pereira;

FC Goa have registered only one win in their last nine matches this season. The remainder of their campaign would be a ‘do-or-die’ phase for them and Derrick Pereira also agreed on it, and he also spoke about if it’s adding pressure on the team.

“This has been our mentality, the winning mentality. We tend to go all out on the attack. And we have performed well both defensively and in offensive play. The pressure has been there because you’re expected to win. It’s part of life for professional players.

“We have been going in with that attitude right from the last five, six matches ever since I have come here. Ever since I’ve joined we have been going with that attitude. But things are not happening the way they should have been. There are some mistakes, individual mistakes here and there which put us down.”

Derrick was asked if the Jamshedpur game was a great opportunity to at least earn at least a point.

“Absolutely. We did everything. We started well in the first 15-20 minutes. When they (Jamshedpur FC) started exerting more pressure, we kept our composure. In the second half, we tried our best to score. We struck the post at least twice. Throughout this season, luck hasn’t been with us, and things haven’t gone our way. We have to get back now and look for our next win.

“Some of our players were claiming off-side (on Daniel Chima Chukwu). I don’t know, I have to get back and take a look. Even if that was the case, we cannot switch off just like that. And that’s what has been happening all season. We’ve been conceding goals due to some silly mistakes, and then we struggle to get back to the game.” 

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Airam Cabrera replaced Jorge Ortiz in the playing XI in the last game. Derick gave an update on Ortiz.

“Ortiz had a slight strain. We took care of him and he wanted to start the game but we didn’t want to risk him. He couldn’t carry on after the warm-up. It was risky, so we pulled him out,”

Pereira had earlier mentioned that if the team gets a couple of results in their favour then he will change the approach. With six games remaining, what’s the approach of the team according to him?

“Our intent is always to get those three points. We will keep fighting and give our best. There are some things which are not in our control. But if we stop losing focus individually and cut-off our individual mistakes both in the attacking and defensive play then I think we should get a good result in the next match.”

FC Goa hit the goalpost three times in the last game. How devastating was it for the team?

“We all are disappointed with the result of the last match. We always go with the intent to give our best. But somehow the ball didn’t go in. We have lost or drawn the majority of our matches and that’s why we are struggling this season.”

Brandon Fernandes played more than 80 minutes after a long time as he had suffered an injury. Derrick spoke about how he felt seeing the local lad back on the pitch.

“Brandon is one of our key players. We missed him in the first half (of the season). You could see his presence made a lot of difference in the team. He gives us more options going forward. He needs to be more clinical up front. He has been an integral part of the club.

“He is a quality player. With him around and with other players like Alberto and Princeton, we were moving the ball well, and he is a player who can create opportunities for other players. His set-piece delivery is deadly. So he’s very, very important to us. I was happy that he played 80 minutes against Jamshedpur FC.”

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Derrick was asked if he was looking to change something in the attacking third of the team.

“January was a tough month for us. Since yesterday we have been allowed to go out of our rooms and have meals in common areas. This will help the players mentally. It will help us to focus more on the aspects of the game, whether defence or attack.”

Their recent run of results, though, have not been great, resulting in doubts among fans especially in terms of their philosophy and playing style. However, Derrick Pereira clarified that the team will stick to its possession-based style of football.

“I wouldn’t say that we would change our style. We have to and will stick to our philosophy. However, at times there will be a Plan B to explore the strengths and weaknesses of our opponents. More importantly, we also need time on the training pitch to work on such plans which we rarely got during January. Hopefully, things become better in the next month, and hopefully, the results also get better as a result.”

Derrick was asked about the injury update of midfielder Glan Martins.

“Glan had an individual training session yesterday, and today he will train with the team. Ortiz is also in the same situation and hopefully, they will be included in the squad for tomorrow. We will be monitoring them closely today.”

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Here are the excerpts of Seriton Fernandes who was also present in the press conference;

This is more or less the first time FC Goa have struggled to get going. Seriton spoke about how he and the team are dealing with the situation.

“We are struggling this year. I still have faith in my team and coach. We have six matches remaining so we still need to give our 100%. If we have confidence in each other then we can surely climb up the table.”

With results not going the team’s way and the whole Covid-19 situation, Seriton spoke about how difficult it’s for him as a player.

“It’s very difficult in the bio-bubble and the results also haven’t been in our favour. It’s very challenging mentally. I hope we go with a positive attitude in the remaining matches.”

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