ISL Media Team
FC Goa will be eagerly hoping to register a victory against Chennaiyin FC after a run of three winless games in Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18. Their clash against Chennai at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa on Thursday takes on even more significance after suffering a 2-0 loss at the hands of Bengaluru FC in their last outing.
Speaking to media ahead of the clash was the Gaurs’ head coach Sergio Lobera, who spoke about his side’s stumbling form that’s seen them collect just one point from their previous three games. “Small details in every game can make the difference. I think, in the last few games, we have been missing some of the important players for certain reasons. For example, in the game against Mumbai (City FC) we were winning but then got a red card, and after that, in the next two games, our starting XI was not at its strongest. When you have some players missing in key positions, it’s noticeable,” the Spaniard said.
He added: “But now it’s not the moment to find excuses, it’s the time to find solutions. What we need to look at are the positives in the last few games, like against Bengaluru, we did not concede the goal from open play but from a set-piece. It’s time to look forward and not look back. We have a good team. A team that I believe can be in the top four if we play to our potential. There are five games left and it all depends on us.”
Expanding on how crucial the upcoming games will be for Goa, the 41-year-old said: “As you know, in the last three games we just won one point, which was not the best of things to happen to us. It’s clear that if we want to be in the top four, in the next two games we have to improve. And this is what we are working towards in the last couple of days in training, to ensure we cover the places we can improve upon. I think the most important thing is to recover the confidence of the team. We have already demonstrated that we are a good team and play well, and this is the kind of form we need to carry on in the next two games.”
Lobera also urged his side to improve defensively having failed to keep a clean sheet this season. “It’s evident that we obviously have to improve in the defence. It’s also evident that we are an offensive team. It’s more worrying that we didn’t score a goal in the last game than anything else, because we are strong when we create opportunities and score goals. Defensively, however, we do need to improve. As I said before, if you look at the goal difference, we are still the third best team in the league, though this does not mean that we don’t have to improve on the things we need to work upon.”
When asked about his side’s failure to find the back of the net in their last game against Bengaluru, Lobera said: “I think more than creating chances, what we have lacked is coming up with that final finishing touch, the killer edge. For example, in the match against Bengaluru, I don’t think there was a number of chances between the two teams. Likewise, in tomorrow’s game, I don’t think there will be a lot of opportunities for both the teams, but the ones which do come by, we have to score from them.”