Panji: The FC Goa first team squad returned to Goa following a successful 20 days of training and pre-season friendlies at the La Manga Club in Murcia, Spain. The Gaurs will play three more friendlies before the start of the season against Bengal giants East Bengal and Mohun Bagan AC. The first of these friendlies will be played against East Bengal at the Bambolim Athletic Stadium at 6pm on 3rd November 2017. It will be a reunion for left back Narayan Das who was a player with the club not too long ago.
Head coach Sergio Lobera was happy about the fact that the team was able to travel to the La Manga club, a venue that has hosted the likes of Liverpool FC, Chelsea FC and FC Barcelona in the past. “I’m happy with the club’s efforts to take us to Murcia. As of now, results don’t matter. Results will come when the league starts. If we take results from Spain into account, we have to also remember that the teams we played have been playing together for the last four or so months while for us, it was the first time that this set of players played together. In my opinion, we had a fantastic pre-season,” he said.
The match against East Bengal will be played behind closed doors for tactical reasons. The head coach insisted that it was a collective decision and that he has nothing to hide. “We need to get some things right about the team. Hence we took a collective decision to play only this match behind closed doors. Personally, I have nothing to hide. Additionally, we might have some injuries in the team. Some players might miss out on the friendlies due to these knocks but for the ISL, they should all be fit,” he noted.
The former Barcelona assistant match has a set philosophy when it comes to coaching teams with emphasis given to retention of the ball. “I believe in a brand of attacking football. My team will always hold on to the ball as long as they can and play from behind. We are not going to be a team that sits back and plays defensively. When we have the ball, we will look to push forward. Passing is of importance. Moving the ball around is an important aspect of the game and while I don’t believe in doing it excessively, I want the final pass to be into the net of the opposition team. I have play” he explained, when asked about the style of football his team is expected to play.