Against Bengaluru FC, past record and recent form doesn't matter: FC Goa's Carlos Pena

FC Goa head coach Carlos Pena warned his team against getting overconfident due to their past results and feels that the game against Bengaluru FC is going to be a difficult game, despite their rival's poor form in recent times as FC Goa host Bengaluru FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 on Saturday.

Carlos Pena was a player when his team last lost against Bengaluru FC in the Hero ISL 2018-19 season. Pena as a coach believes that the past is not important and now it is time for this squad to perform and asserts Saturday is going to be a new story.

Pena was accompanied by his fellow countrymen Marc Hernandez in the oficial pre match press conference. The Gaffer opens up the role of Marc Hernandez, injury updates and approach towards the next game.

Here are the excerpts from Carlos Pena's Conference:

You have seen Marc Hernandez playing in La Liga, what were your thoughts before you signed him? I understand he's signed because of his quality, but does he also have a role in grooming the other players like what you did two seasons ago?

Pena: Well, talking about football, it's (not) necessary that I talk about Mark Marc Hernandez because Marc Hernandez has shown his quality during many years in very competitive leagues. We have played together but apart from that he has shown his quality in many (other) teams. So his quality is out of any doubt and when the possibility appeared that we have a chance to sign Marc Hernandez, I didn't think of inviting him as a player only, I knew that he could (also) give us a good value inside the locker room because it's important here in my opinion, that the Indian players, the young players try to learn from experimental players, from players that has played in high level and I'm very happy about this with Marc Hernandez. I told him that I didn't or we didn't sign him only because of his football value. We expected from him that he would give us value inside the locker room and he's doing that. So, I am very happy with him, very happy with his performances. As he says, he is improving day by day, he's growing, he's trying to help out with the team during the training sessions and that's it.

FC Goa has won the back-to-back matches at home and Bengaluru FC have lost consecutive matches. So what do you think about Saturday's match?

Pena: Saturday's game is going to be a very tough game. We are going to play against a team that of course is not in a good mood right now, but with very good players, (Bengaluru FC) is a team that always show winning mentality and for me on Saturday it's going to be, if not the toughest, one of the tough games that we can play till now. So, everyone needs to be paying attention, and need to be ready because Saturday is going to be a difficult game.

FC Goa have won both the matches at home, 3- 0 against Jamshedpur FC and again 3-0  against ATK Mohun Bagan and this is possibly the better performance that FC Goa has put in. Does home advantage make a lot of difference?

Yeah, I think (against ATK Mohun Bagan) the first 45 minutes were the best 45 minutes that we have played till now. That's true and we are feeling very comfortable at home. But I repeat, Saturday is going to be a different story, when the referee blows the first whistle, no matter what happens till now, no matter the last two games (what) matters is what we show, what we do on the pitch, so I feel that Saturday is going to be very difficult and if we want to beat them, we have to be in our best version.

We have had a lot of positive results but at the same time we have seen that we have encountered a number of injuries. How happy are you with the people coming off the bench and How about the strength and depth in the squad?

Pena: I would like to always have my squad available but injuries are part of football and it is not only happening here. Many teams have these problems luckily injuries are being little injuries that the players lose 10-15 days and but (am I worried?) No, because I think we have enough players in the squad to substitute any one. The team is not depending on any specific player and our  strength is the group and of course we would like to not have injuries but they are part of football.

As a coach, you were just given up playing (a few years ago). Now you are against Bengaluru FC, a team you had a fierce rivalry with when you played as a player? Do you miss playing in these kind of games?

I don't miss playing. I am not in the feel to play. Now It's time for these guys. I enjoyed a lot my new role. I enjoyed a lot every day working with this player, with this amazing staff I am working with. So now, my time as a player has finished and yeah I have good memories about games against Bengaluru FC. They have always been a tough rival for us, but on Saturday the past is not important. Saturday is going to be a new story.

Can you provide us with an injury update on Glan Martins and others. Are they available for the match?

Pena: Glan is working with the team right now and let's decide if he's going to be available for saturday. Only Gamma is out because of injury.

Bengaluru FC have not had the best of seasons while you go into this at the end of two senior victories at home, how important is it to keep the feet grounded and what did you tell the team after the win leading up to this game?

Pena: We have talked about this, we enjoyed the victory and the game against ATK Mohun Bagan. In the first training session we were together, we met this week, we talked about it and my players, everyone inside the locker room is conscious that Saturday is going to be a very difficult day and it's going to be a big challenge for us. So I think inside the locker room everyone is conscious and we try to be balanced in mental thing, we were not a very bad team last week after losing Kerala Blasters FC and now we are not the best team after winning ATK Mohun Bagan. Balance is very important, we work on it. But my players have shown this week that they are conscious and they are looking forward to having a good performance against Bengaluru FC.

After the disappointing performance against Kerala Blasters FC,  you said that the first 45 minutes against ATK Mohun Bagan was the best that FC Goa had. How important is it for you as a coach to get these best performances from the team after a very disappointing one? Are you happy that the players are responding to you? Are the players doing what you want?

Pena: Yeah, it made me feel happy. I have to recognize that before the game I was 100% confident that my players were going to do a good game because I saw their faces, I saw how they trained. I felt the tension inside the meeting room and I was 100% confident. It's important. Of course after a loss, come back and show character. We did it two times this week, but Saturday is going to be a great challenge because we don't want to be overconfident. We want to show that we can do a good performance again, so the next game is a new challenge and a new opportunity to show this character.

Here are the excerpts from Hernandez's conference:

What are your thoughts about Indian football and what did you hear about Indian football before you actually came to India?

Hernandez: I think Indian football is growing up so fast. It's not a long time ago that the Indian Super League was founded. The clubs are getting better in this time. and I have seen in these three months that it is a competitive football and  the players are ready to play in highly competitive (matches) and I find it very competitive.

Are you satisfied with your performances? Or do you think you can still get better?

Hernandez: I have felt that I am not 100% yet probably it's not easy here because the weather and the humidity is not easy for me or for the players to keep this fitness that I would like to have  but Step by step I'm feeling better. Football players always think that they can do better and this is what I'm thinking about myself.

We have had a number of clean sheets and  have one of the best defensive starts in this season. How do you feel about this? What is the secret behind the success at the back?

Hernandez: I think the whole team is working on that. Football has two faces, offensive and defensive and the players who play the game and have to be ready for these two phases of the game. So I'm really happy that the whole team is working on that aspect of the game that the from the striker to the goalkeeper are ready to counter press and are ready to do the defensive part when the team needed it.

We have seen tough competition for your place, how does that impact your motivation everyday to work?

Hernandez: As the coach said, We have a great squad and this is our strength. I think as long as the players show good performance, it is good for the other players (who) are waiting for the opportunity. And in my career, it's always been like this. If your teammate is showing that he can play your place, you will try to do your best and this is something that is good for the team.

Your Comments

Hiii