Kino Garcia – We must win tonight if we want to be in the semifinals


Odisha FC are currently placed in the 7th position on the standings having collected 21 points (6 wins and 3 draws) from 15 games. A victory in the upcoming match will push them into the top four and enhance their chances of qualifying for the semi-finals. Interim head coach Kino Garcia stressed the importance of making use of Mumbai City FC’s drawbacks when the two sides face each other tonight. The Juggernauts defeated SC East Bengal by a 2-1 scoreline in their last game.

Meanwhile their opponents, Mumbai City FC are sixth in the points table with 22 points (6 wins and 4 draws) from 14 matches. Mumbai City FC won 1-0 against Chennaiyin FC in their last match. A late strike from Vikram Singh got the Islanders their first win in the last eight matches.

Ahead of Odisha FC’s match against Mumbai City FC on Sunday, 13rd February at the Fatorda Stadium, head coach Kino Garcia and midfielder Javi Hernandez addressed the media during the official pre-match press conference.

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Below are the excerpts of coach Kino Garcia from the press conference.

The Juggernauts are confident after their win in the last game against SCEB. Kino spoke about it.

“Of course as a team, I think that they feel confident after winning against SC East Bengal. We needed that because after the disappointment against FC Goa. We wanted to come back and win the three points. We are motivated with just five matches to go, including four matches in 14 days. I think the team is confident and we are having good training with good intensity.”

Garcia has been in charge of the team for quite a few matches now. He spoke on if he thinks that the players are taking more than normal time to adapt to your style of play.

“We tried, but the thing is that we didn’t have a proper pre-season and we are having matches after matches. So we are trying to bring our ideas to the table, to try that the players understand what we want and to try to work with them week by week. But we know how much time there is in between matches. As you know, we have a match tomorrow and then in 48 hours, we again have a match. You cannot train as much as you want, but the players are really helping us and they are trying to do whatever we tell them. We are working hard to bring ideas to the team and we are happy about how they are performing.”

Kino spoke about the threats Mumbai City FC can possess tonight as a team, against Odisha FC.

“Of course, there are a lot of threats. When we think about Jahouh and how they build the game, they are players who can play with the speed in the side. We know (Igor) Angulo, (Diego) Mauricio as a striker. So they have a lot of quality in the team. They can control the game and we have to be really focused. We need to be ready to defend, run when we need to run and win the ball back, and after that do whatever we can do. And of course, we know how to do it, we have quality, we have really good players. We can have possession with the ball like Mumbai and try to exploit their weaknesses.”

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Kino shared his assessment of tonight’s game against Mumbai City FC.

“Both teams need three points if you want to be in the semifinals. So for both teams, it’s an important match. The schedule is also tight. We play a game in two days’ time. We have five matches to go so we need to be focused and perform well match after match.”

Kino spoke about Gaurav Bora’s performance, as he has stepped up in Hector Rodas’ absence and has an excellent partnership with Hector Mongil.

“I think it’s good. It’s good news for the team, for the ISL that young Indian center-backs like Bora are performing well at a high level in top matches where you have to play against Hyderabad and other top teams. Bora performed well, he needs to learn, but he’s paying attention. We have video sessions and all the things he’s trying to improve and also he’s also combining well with Hector (Rodas), Victor (Mongil).

“So I think that the Bora is performing well. We knew about his capabilities and skill. They need to have trust and confidence in the pitch. I think he’s performing well. He needs to correct some things. Of course, he needs to improve, still needs to learn, but we are happy about his performance.”

The last time Mumbai City FC and Odisha FC squared off, the Juggernauts emerged victorious in an enthralling 4-2 encounter. With their top-four hopes hanging by a thread, will Odisha FC approach the game with a similar attacking intent?

“We will try, of course. We know that we are facing one of the biggest teams of the ISL. They were last season’s champions. They have also brought in new players in the winter market. They brought (Diego) Mauricio, Vinit (Rai) and (Lallianzuala) Chhangte. They are bringing a lot of talented players to their squad and have all the players available. So of course it’s going to be a tough game. But we will have our chances,” concluded Kino Garcia.

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Below are the excerpts of midfielder Javi Hernandez from the press conference.

Javi has been performing well this season for Odisha FC. He spoke about his motivation behind such a magnificent performance.

“Feeling good here, everyone is trying to help me, so I’m feeling good this season and I think I’m playing in my best position. So I will try to keep it up until the end of the season.”

Hernandez has been combining pretty well with Jonathas de Jesus. He shared his views on the partnership with Jonathas.

“So with this kind of player, the thing becomes easy because he’s a really good player and it’s easy to combine with him. Because he knows, he played at the top level. So I think he will help us a lot in these last games.”

Javi was asked how he has adapted to the new coach and his playing style.

“I am feeling very comfortable. I think I can play in all attacking positions but he (Kino Garcia) knows my best position, the one I played in the last game. We have had many problems with attacking players in the last few weeks so I am always ready to help the team us and give my 100%.” the attacking midfielder concluded.

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