On the impact of Juan Fernando’s exit from the team
“This week is very different, but it doesn’t change anything about the team. The team has the same target from the start of the season; the target is to win the ISL. I was very upset about this situation for the last three days, but I have now forgotten. Now it is the start of a new journey for us. We start it in the next game against Odisha FC to win the match.”
On how difficult it was for Derrick to take over the team midway into the season
“Yes, a lot of because there are a lot of matches to be played now. I am back into coaching, and I am eager to get out of this quarantine and work with the players. I have had a few chats with the senior players virtually, couldn’t meet them personally. I have to meet them and see what I have to do to get the best out of the players and see what we need to improve individually and as a team.
“It was a shocking as well as exciting call for me; I never expected that I would be in charge of the team, whose aim is always to do well and be on top. I was taking care of the youth teams at FC Goa, where I was getting involved in day-to-day activities, and when I got this opportunity, there were a lot of thoughts in my mind. I asked for a day to give my decision. I wanted to say ‘yes’ immediately, but I needed time to talk to my family and decide how to go about things. My thoughts were how the players would respond to me. So I spoke to the players virtually, and I got an excellent response from them, and that gave me the confidence to work and make this a better team. It took me some time to put my thoughts into this and then decided to become the coach.”
On the areas the team needs to improve
“I discussed with Clifford Miranda, who is taking charge of the first team right now. I have told him the areas which we need to improve. At the moment, I don’t want to make too many changes; we are working in organising team in attack and defence as well.“
On managing youth development setups along with the senior team
“Before getting into the bubble, I had a day to discuss this with my technical staff and coaches; looking after youth development is still my responsibility. I believe in them, and they will take good care of the youth setup in my absence.“
On keeping the players motivated and focused after Juan’s departure
“I have faced this before, and also these days, players are professionals; they are mentally strong. These things come and go; there are a lot of issues on and off the field; as professionals, we have to overcome these issues. When I spoke to senior players virtually, they knew what to do, and we are trying to create an atmosphere where we can get back to winning ways.
“It’s good for the youngsters because they can learn from these kinds of situations. I know this is a bizarre situation, but we are trying to forget it, and I am telling the youngsters to forget what happened last week. We should start working with Derrick because we have the same target as fans have, a desire to win games and achieve our goal of winning the ISL.“
On things that went wrong in the first 3 games and how it was fixed in the next 3 games
“I remember the first three games were tough. It’s maybe because of the pressure we had that we were one of the best teams in ISL, and we just won the Durand Cup. After losing three games consecutively, we changed our mentality, and we tried winning games with more intensity. Defending is not only the defenders’ job; even we lose the ball in the midfield and attack if we play a bit more aggressively. This team has a lot of quality, and we can win every game.”
Thoughts on the opponents in the next match
“I think Odisha FC is an excellent team. They changed a lot of players from last year. I know some of the Spanish players I have played against in Spain. We need to believe in ourselves and our style of play. We need to be competitive and intensive like the last two games. We are still one of the best sides in ISL. We will win against Odisha if we play with intensity.”
Follow our website for all the latest updates on Indian Football.