Antonio Iriondo: We try to bring a balance in both defence and attack

The Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar is all set to host its first match of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 as Odisha FC welcome home local rivals Jamshedpur FC on Friday. Currently, on a four-match winless streak, the visitors need to be more cautious of a Odisha side who would be spurred on by their home support. A win would only strengthen Jamshedpur’s hold on to the top-four spot, something they would want to maintain, especially after missing some important players due to injuries.

When asked about the same in the pre-match press conference, Jamshedpur head coach Antonio Iriondo said, “We are working hard this week. We know that we have some very important players who are out due to injuries, but we are working with everyone in the squad. We have not come here just to play, but we have come here for a win.”

In the season so far, the visitors have scored twelve but conceded 11 goals. On being asked how he is planning to take his team forward, the Spaniard replied, “In our style of play, we don’t care about the defence or attack. We try to bring a balance in both. We know the numbers, but it is not a big deal for us. We don’t have players in the offence who can score a lot of goals now (due to injuries). We have to work on that. The essence of football is to get the ball out of the half as much as possible and we will try and plan that way. We will keep the ball and try to score more goals than our opponents.”

Accompanying the head coach was Jamshedpur’s young forward, Sumeet Passi, who threw light on how the team was preparing for the road ahead, “As you know, two of our main players are injured. They were our pillars. But we are trying to adapt to this and balance things out. We need to keep on scoring. Even if we win by one or two goals, a win is of prime importance. So that’s the target. We have to score more goals so that there’s less pressure on our defence.”

He further added, “Our main aim is not to be just in the top four but to be in the first position. If the team’s momentum and overall atmosphere remain on track, we can achieve our target. Hopefully, the injured players will come back soon and we can again start playing great football.”

Finally, Passi also spoke about the fan support and what he was expecting the scene to be at the Kalinga Stadium. “We hope that the crowd will be in our support. Though it’s obvious that it is Odisha’s home match and their fan support will be bigger, but we also have the belief that the away fans of Jamshedpur will come in numbers to support us,” he shared.

Read the Match Preview here.

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