Noah Sadaoui interview: The fans are a major part of my success in FC Goa
The Moroccan speaks about the new FC Goa squad, Manolo Marquez and thoughts on the Golden Boot race.
FC Goa have had a solid start to the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 season. They have played five games and won four to sit at the top of the table after Matchweek 6.
The Gaurs are among the three unbeaten teams in the league and they couldn't have asked for more after Manolo Marquez took charge of the team in the summer.
Moroccan winger Noah Sadaoui has been one of the top performers for the Gaurs since joining the team. Though injuries have hampered his season so far, in the few minutes he has been on the pitch, he has scored twice, posing a significant threat to the league's defences after coming back from injury.
Sadaoui is optimistic about the season ahead for FC Goa who missed out on a playoff spot last season by a fine margin.
"Yes, definitely there have been a lot of positive changes. The players that came in fit in perfectly," Sadaoui told indiansuperleague.com in an interview.
"The great thing about all the players coming in, for example, our centre-backs Odei (Onaindia) and Sandesh (Jhingan) are very solid defensively, that is their speciality. We have our defensive midfielder like Carl McHugh, he is a pure number six, very good defensively, can spray the ball and that is what we need. Then we have very creative attacking midfielders like Brandon (Fernandes) and Victor (Rodriguez) and our wingers are fast and we have an experienced striker who is very good inside the box, so I just feel that we have really balanced players in every position compared to last season," he added.
The Moroccan has primarily played as a winger during his time with the Gaurs. He scored nine goals last season for FC Goa, emerging as the brightest spot for the team.
Sadaoui opens up about his preferred position on the pitch, shedding light on where he feels more comfortable.
"Yes, there are some games that I have played as a striker and there are some games where I have played as a winger. I have played the majority of games in my career as a winger and I am more comfortable on the wings and yes definitely I will be able to contribute more when I am on the wings," he said.
This season is the first time Sadaoui is playing under Manolo Marquez and he spoke about how the Spaniard engages with the players on and off the field.
"Coach Manolo has two faces, he is very demanding during training sessions and games. He expects us to always work hard and push and he can be very strict on the field and even shout but as soon as you get out of the training ground he is a completely different person, he is very smiley and he jokes around with us," said the 30-year-old.
Sadaoui was tipped by many to win the Golden Boot in the ISL 2023-24 season with FC Goa possessing plenty of attacking riches. But he prefers to focus on the next match and not look at the end result too much.
"My job is to score, provide assists, help my team as much as I can attacking-wise. I do not think about the Golden Boot because when you put that in your mind sometimes you force situations in games and end up not scoring because of you not being patient," he said.
"So for me, it's just about taking it game-by-game, trying to do the right things and at the end of the season if you are at the right place at the right time and are being patient then the Golden Boot might come. For me, it is just about how can I help my team win the game. These things come by themselves," he added.
Speaking about the importance of home fixtures, Sadaoui expressed his comfort playing in the Fatorda Stadium. He relishes the experience of performing in front of the FC Goa fans and believes they are the main reason for his good performances so far.
"Home is home. I don't need to explain how it feels to be home. The Fatorda, the fans, it is something that I am comfortable with. I feel secure at home. Home is always special, in front of your family, fans and you know the ground well," he said.
"Yes, the fans are very special to me, they always support me and they have always shown me love since the first day I came here and they are a major part of my success so far in FC Goa," Sadaoui concluded.