FC Goa head coach, Carlos Pena, stated that he has a 100% belief in his players and staff as his team hosts Odisha FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Goa as the first clash of the doubleheader on Saturday in Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23.

The Spaniard added that the team’s approach and style of play are going to stay the same even against the high-flying Odisha FC.

FC Goa will return to action after two consecutive defeats as they sit in the sixth position on the points table. FC Goa have never lost to Odisha FC in the last six meetings that have seen four wins for the Gaurs and two draws. Pena expressed that the fan's support in the home stadium is amazing and it allows them to achieve virtually everything when they play on their own patch.

Pena was accompanied by Ayush Chhetri in the pre-match press conference:

Here are the excerpts from Pena’s press conference:

FC Goa  lost four of the last six matches. Do you think the team is going through a tough time right now?

We are not happy with the last two games, I think both games were really different. In the Bengaluru FC game, they defended really well, we had trouble in creating chances but the result could be very different if we had scored first but that didn’t happen. Against Mumbai City FC, I believe they were better in some phases of the game. We had a great first half and we had good chances in this game but in the second half, we were not us. We need to improve to improve. After winning games, we don’t have to think about the past. After the ATK Mohun Bagan match, I was very glad. Now with this momentum, it’s not easy for us. I have a 100% belief in my team, and my staff and I’m sure on Saturday, we are going to show what we want to.

How is your approach going to be in the next match?

As I’ve said from the first day, our idea is going to stay the same, we are going to play with our style. We are going to try to dominate the game, we are going to try to create the chances, going to try to be solid in defence. The team needs to score the first goal against Odisha FC. In the last two games, the team has conceded six goals and for a team that wants to be in the first position, it’s not possible. This is our main goal is to score the first goal. We need to be consistent, we have to adjust some things as we’re going for the game. We will go with our style, our mentality, and our identity we are going to try to beat them.

Odisha FC have scored late goals in the last three games. How is your approach going to be for Odisha FC?

I told my players that Odisha FC has had a very good start. It’s a team with a lot of energy and strong character, they have everybody’s respect because they are winning the points, and they have made great comebacks and I like the way they are playing. The energy and the consistency they are showing are great but we are not so far behind them. Saturday is the day when we focus on ourselves, recover and solve the game and try to get the three points.

Edu Bedia would be missing the game on Saturday due to a red card suspension. How difficult is it going to be without Edu Bedia?

Yes, it’s a big loss for us. The influence that Edu has on our game but I have trust in my players. We have four-five options and we are going to decide. I believe a hundred percent that the players are going to help us on Saturday, we can play with any player. 

FC Goa hasn’t lost to Odisha FC in the last six meetings. Is it going to stay the same after the match?

I’m not a fan of statistics. I’m not a fan of past games but hopefully, these statistics remain the same after Saturday’s game but we know we are facing a tough game against a tough opponent, and they are coming in a good mood, they have played two good games but FC Goa, in Fatorda is able to do anything.

Ayush (Chettri) have started the games ahead of some settled players in the team. What are the characteristics that made you select Ayush as a starter?

I think Ayush has deserved the minutes he’s getting. He had a very good preseason, he had many chances and he played brilliantly in the friendly matches. He showed me that he wanted to be with us and he understood the role he had in the starting eleven. He had an opportunity to start in the starting eleven and he’s a smart player and he understands the game. He’s paying attention in every team training, every day, to the points that I give him and he’s trying to apply them in the pitch. It’s the most important quality in his position as a midfielder. If the midfielder doesn’t understand the game and doesn’t understand what the coach is asking of him, I think Ayush is a player who understands, and he’s a player who is 19 years of age with good decision-making skills. Of course, he has a lot of things to improve but luckily, he has time and he has passion. He is working to improve and he has to show that he deserves the minutes he’s getting.