Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], February 5 (ANI): FC Goa head coach Carlos Pena said his team was confident because they are performing well as the Gaurs lock horns against Odisha FC in the first fixture of Matchweek 19 in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar on Monday.
FC Goa sit in fifth place in the ISL points with Josep Gombau's men right behind them at sixth place with three points separating both teams. A win for FC Goa will take them to third place and the Juggernauts would be hoping to match the points tally with the victory at home.
The Gaurs are coming into the fixture on the back of two consecutive victories. Pena shed light on how the team is confident because they have been performing well and Odisha FC are a direct opponent to them as the teams sit in fifth and sixth places in the ISL points table respectively.
"We are confident because we are performing well and that's because we are confident. We noticed that now with every game it's getting harder for everyone, it's not easy to get even one point for anyone. For us the most important thing is the game on Monday, to play a good game and we'll go there and try to get three points. Odisha FC is a direct opponent for us so the game on Monday is very important and when you win, all the other results don't affect you so we want to win and then we'll see in which position we finish." Pena said in the official pre-match press conference.
The Juggernauts have seen their form dip after an impressive start to the season, Gombau's men have collected only five points out of a possible 24 from the last eight games. Pena mentioned that Odisha FC is going to be under pressure in the match and it's going to be a difficult game for both teams.
"It's a very important game for them, they are going to be under pressure because they have been in the playoffs spot throughout the season and now they are struggling with the results but at home, they are a very strong team. It's going to be a tough game for both teams and I'm not going to pay attention to the past because on Monday, it's going to be a different story for both teams. We need to be focused on the game and it's going to be very important for us," Pena said.
The fixture will bring two Spanish coaches with similar playing styles against each other. Diego Mauricio has led the charge for the team with nine goals in 16 matches. Pena showed respect for the opponents and added how Odisha FC boast quality players in their team.
"Odisha FC is a team that likes to play out from the back. They have quality players, Diego Mauricio is performing really well but like all the teams they also have problems, it seemed at the beginning of the season that they'll qualify easily and now they are struggling. It's difficult, apart from Hyderabad FC and Mumbai City FC who have been performing very consistently throughout the season, it's a challenge for every team. A lot of respect for Odisha FC knowing that they are a good team and let's see what happens," Pena added.
FC Goa has completed the signing of midfielder Hernan Santana. The Spaniard is back in the ISL having spent a season each at Mumbai City FC and NorthEast United FC. The Guars head coach expressed his delight with Hernan Santana joining the team and talked about the qualities of the midfielder.
"I'm happy that Hernan (Santana) is with us. He's absolutely fit and ready to help the team. He's a player who's comfortable on the ball, he knows our style of play. He can play in different positions, he's a leader and I feel he's ready to play," Pena concluded.
Pena was accompanied by Santana in the official pre-match conference. The Spanish midfielder has clocked more than three thousand minutes in his past two stints. The 32-year-old looked back on his time spent in ISL and how the FC Goa playing style matches his approach to the game.
"Everyone knows what happened last season with NorthEast United FC. It was a difficult season for everyone. My first season here in India with Mumbai was amazing but now I'm focused on my new team. I'm a professional player and now I defend the orange colour of FC Goa. We have a big game coming up against Odisha FC and let's see if we can get three points in the next game," Santana said.
"The style of play of Mumbai City FC and FC Goa is very similar. For me, if I want to play in a different position I can play, my original position is a midfielder but I can play as a centre-back as well. It's very important to control the game and control the possession of the ball and try to play out from the back. I feel very comfortable with this style of play, for me it's the best style to win games," Santana said. (ANI)