Thursday, December 1, 2022

Our fighting spirit was amazing: FC Goa head coach Carlos Pena

FC Goa head coach Carlos Pena praised his team’s fighting spirit as they beat Jamshedpur FC 3-0 in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Goa, on Thursday.

After a strong start to the season where they secured two of out three wins on the road, FC Goa put on a solid show in front of their home fans after two Hero ISL seasons. They scored the first goal within two minutes as Iker Guarrotxena rifled it past TP Rehenesh.

Carlos Pena thanked the supporters for coming out in large numbers and cheering the team. The coach was ecstatic to celebrate a noteworthy victory on FC Goa’s home ground after a gap of two long years.

Here are the excerpts from Pena’s post-match press conference:

It was a very promising performance by the team. What was the thinking behind bringing in Glan Martins to replace Fares Arnaout?

I’m very happy with the team’s performance. Every game has different characteristics, and the team has to adapt to the situation, and I’m glad we gave a good performance. I brought Glan because of his qualities with the ball at his feet and his strength. He performed great after coming in and helped the team to victory.

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Was there any pressure as you were playing in front of the home fans after a gap of two years?

Of course, there was pressure. I could see my players were motivated in the tunnel leading up to kick-off. They were looking forward to playing in front of the home fans. We started the game really well. I’m glad how things turned out, and I thank the fans for coming out to support the team. It helped massively, and we all felt that connection with the fans.

Any update on Fares Arnaout’s injury?

Fares felt some discomfort in the abductor muscles. Let’s see after the test how serious it is, but I’m glad how the team adjusted well to the change in the defence, and everyone is motivated to help.

The team made more than 500 passes. Was possession one of the key reasons for the victory?

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I believe possession helped us. For me, if possession is helping the team, then I only want it, not for its own sake. We were able to draw the opposition out of the compact zones. We created space behind the defense, and we took great advantage with the help of our wingers and converted the chances, which paved the way to our victory.

Any highlights of the game that you think you can take to the next game?

The team made sure we fought till the last minute and showed great focus after scoring three goals and keeping a clean sheet. The fighting spirit was amazing.

It was Brison Fernandes’s first goal of the season. How confident are you in playing him?

I’m very happy for Brison. I don’t look at a player’s age, if a player knocks on my door, then I will give him the chance. Brison deserves the minutes he’s getting. He was injured in preseason, but he worked a lot and kept on working while patiently waiting for his chance, and finally he performed great when he got his chance.

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Noah Sadaoui played on the left-hand side while you played him as a centre forward in the last two games, caused a lot of trouble, and scored his first goal at home. What are your thoughts?

Every game has different characteristics and different demands. We were determined that Jamshedpur FC could play with two strong center backs. We planned on cutting off their support and trying to attack them in the wings. I think we executed our plans perfectly, and I’m very happy with Noah’s performance.

Dheeraj came back from injury for this game; he was not afraid at all in the match. What are your thoughts?

Pena: Dheeraj is crazy! He came back from the hospital and performed great in today’s match. He was brave and helped the team throughout the match. I’m very happy for Arsh (Arshdeep Singh), who played very well in the last, and I’m very happy for both of my goalkeepers.

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