We have to remember that players are not robots - they have emotions, says Juan Ferrando

Image courtesy: FC Goa

Juan Ferrando’s first season of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) in charge of FC Goa didn’t go to plan in the beginning, however, by the time the Gaurs’ campaign ended in March, everyone had begun to sit up and take notice again. 

It took a heartbreak deep into sudden death to knock FC Goa out of the competition. However, that was not before the Gaurs had set sail on a record-breaking 15-match unbeaten streak – a Hero Indian Super League (ISL) record. 

The Gaurs rounded off last season with an impressive showing in the AFC Champions League in April. And in September, FC Goa began their preparation for the Hero ISL in style - winning their first ever Durand Cup. 

Juan Ferrando, though, doesn’t want any emphasis to be laid on past achievements as FC Goa go on the hunt for their first ever Hero ISL title. Speaking at the official FC Goa Media Day, Ferrando did not want to stress on the task of winning the trophy just as yet. 

“This is a new season, a new chapter. We are all positive heading into the new season. The focus, though, is not in the past. We are not thinking about being knocked out in the semis. The important thing is to put focus in the present,” said Ferrando.

“Of course, from the past experiences, we learn some details. We better understand moments of the game and about the team. The most important thing right now is to focus on the present so that we can have a better future.”

Last season saw Juan Ferrando face a real challenge in his very first season. With the COVID19 pandemic in full swing, the head coach had little over three weeks in the pre-season to set up his plans with a team that was largely new. This year, the Gaurs assembled in August for the pre-season with the Durand Cup acting as a good platform for the team to get together. 

“I am happy with the pre-season. The club trusted my process and helped to get the squad together as early as possible. Of course, that helps in the tactical and technical part of it. However, what it also helps is getting the players to know each other better,” added Ferrando. 

“We have to remember that players are not robots. They have emotions. The team (as a unit) has emotions. If we are able to have a healthy relationship, it becomes easier for the tactical information to have an effect on the pitch. For me it’s vital that the players are in a good frame of mind heading into the season - for them to be positive.

“For now, we have to look to be the best against Mumbai, then Jamshedpur and then against each of the opponents we play - step by step and improve day by day. This is the secret in football.  The same in business. And in all aspects of life,” said Ferrando.

FC Goa will take on Mumbai City FC on November 22 at PJN Stadium, Fatorda in their opening clash of the tournament.

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