FC Goa put up a spirited show against Iranian giants Persepolis FC on Matchday 3 of the AFC Champions League. They have to do it all over again when they face Persepolis FC in the return leg on Friday. Juan Ferrando and his players will know what to expect from one of the favorites of the competition, having already played them. Juan Ferrando was quizzed about the fitness of players, the performance of the team so far, and also on tactics of FC goa without Edu Bedia.
When asked about the fitness of his players, Juan told, “All are okay. It is a difficult situation for all of us. Because of the pandemic, we now have to play 6 games in 20 days which is very difficult. But we need to be strong and be ready to participate in such situations. It is important that everybody is in the best shape for all the games”.
On how happy he was with the performance of the team so far, Juan opined, “Am I very happy? No. Our mentality is always to win games and get 3 points. We know that it is very difficult, and I am happy with the points that we have and our overall performance. We have 3 more games. It is necessary to work hard and keep up the intensity. I am respectful of all our opponents but for us, the target from the next 3 games is 9 points”.
When asked about the tactics of FC Goa without Edu, Juan was optimistic but did not reveal too much, “We prepare a new plan and hope it succeeds. In training, we will practice it so that we can reap rewards tomorrow. During the last 6-7 games of the ISL, we did not have Brandon and we had to change our tactics. Similarly, with Edu, we have players who can play in that position. Our plan against Persepolis FC will be better than the last game”.
Juan was specifically asked whether the early substitution of Adil Khan was tactical or because of injury. He was also quizzed on what he told Adil after the early substitution. The Spaniard responded, “It was a tactical decision. We started with 4-3-3 with Adil playing as a 6. But after 2-1, it was necessary to our tactics, with Edu as a 6 and Amarjeet as an 8. At 2-1, we were losing, and we had to change immediately to win the game. It was purely a tactical decision and not for mistakes. Adil is one of the leaders of the team. I did not have any special words for him after the substitution. He arrived in January and since then he has been a leader in defense and has also helped all the youngsters. I will continue to push him, and he will continue in the squad”.
On any injury concerns FC Goa might have for the next 3 games and on Edu Bedia’s injury, Juan responded, “Edu is obviously injured, and we have players who are touch and go, because we will know only at the last moment. Mohammed Ali has started training. Princeton and Leander have started working. Glan and Jorge need to recover for the game. Truth is that all of the players are tired and are recovering. These are not injuries, fingers crossed, because I want these players to be fit for next week’s games as well. The medical staff is also doing a tremendous job in helping all players recover fast for the next match. Edu Bedia has the same injury that Mohammed Ali had 3 weeks ago. The injury that Edu has is in his knee ligament. On the outlook, the injury looks bad, but after treatment, it gets better. We are hoping he gets better after each passing day and ultimately regains fitness”.
Juan was also asked about Brandon’s set-piece deliveries. The coach told, “For me it’s easy. We prepare set pieces with Brandon and his quality. During the last phase of the ISL, it was difficult because he was out for 3 months, but now he is fit, ready, and has worked a lot in training. For us, it is important that he is on the pitch for these set pieces. He has a great right foot and he’s perfect for us”.
FC Goa will face Persepolis FC on 23rd April. Persepolis FC is currently sitting top of the table with 9 points from 3 games, whereas FC Goa is in 3rd place with 2 points from their 3 games.