Having shown resilience in their two matches, FC Goa gear up for a difficult matchup against the Iranian side Persepolis FC. Coach Juan Ferrando highlights the importance of the game and the experience it will bring to the team, but also warns his side must be focused on the game.
FC Goa is currently second in their group behind Persepolis and needs to finish in the top two to have a chance to qualify for the next rounds. When asked about his view on going through to the next rounds, the Spaniard quickly mentioned, going at it one game at a time. “Of course, it is a dream to win the Champions League, but this is not possible because it is very difficult and I think our target is to put it game by game, and the focus is against Persepolis. We need time, we need to focus and in the end, we will see. Of course, it is a dream, but it is a dream, not reality.”
Juan Ferrando who turned forty in January has been in charge of big games in his managerial career, when asked whether the game against last season’s runner ups would be the biggest ever game he has managed, he quickly brushed it aside, “Yeah, at the end all the games are important. Now from my point of view, the most important game is tomorrow against Persepolis, but it’s necessary for the players to experience, we need to work hard in terms of (winning) mentality, and our tactical decisions. I hope the players are ready with the right mentality for tomorrow because we know they are ready.”
Juan Ferrando knows a thing or two about his opponents and highlighted the importance of keeping their focus. “Tomorrow is a very difficult game because Persepolis has a lot of experience. They played in the last final, and are a very strong team because they have been together for quite some time now. But it is important for us to work three times more than Persepolis because you know, this team has the experience, they have a plan, he (the coach) has control over his way of attacking and defending, the last game for example against Rayyan, you could watch very carefully all their actions, so it’s important for us to focus every second tomorrow or else we will have big problems.”
With Goa missing a few key players through injury, the coach was asked about player selections, and whether he misses experienced players like Igor Angulo and Alberto Noguera, to which he replied, “It’s difficult but in the same way it’s difficult when some player is left on the bench or out of the squad, but I explained about the decision, about Igor and Alberto. Of course, I miss them both but this is the rule of the Champions League.”
In spite of all the injury woes, Juan still believes in his players and proudly said “We try to work with Redeem, Ishan, Jorge, Romario and the rest of the players, because I trust in this squad, and at the end, we are thinking of improving in some points, but again there is not a lot of time to improve in tactical terms because, two days back we played, yesterday was recovery, today we trained, and it’s not possible to work so much. In the end, it’s difficult but it is always a pleasure to play in the Champions League.”
According to Juan Ferrando, what separates his team from the giants in the competition is the intensity. He explained “When I talk about intensity, I don’t mean to run around, be physical and fight and make tackles. It means to make a good decision instantly, and I need to improve my team in these points for which we need to play against these teams to improve if we want to be in the Champions League every season.”
FC Goa has drawn both their games so far against Al-Rayyan and Al-Wahda and is yet to concede a goal in the competition, making them the only team in Group E to do so, but Juan does not think this is something to boast about. “For me, I want to win all the time. If we talk about the results, in my point of view, we have lost four points. I know about this competition, I know about my squad, I am aware of the budget for the other teams, and their level of competition in their leagues as compared to India, but in the end, it is important for us to work on all the possible details. For us, the most important thing is to improve the club.” – concluded Juan Ferrando