Odisha FC head coach Sergio Lobera stated that he anticipates a tough match as his team face Owen Coyle's Chennaiyin FC in the Indian Super League (ISL), away from home at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Sunday.

The Kalinga Warriors currently occupy the top spot on the points table, holding a two-point lead over Mohun Bagan Super Giant, who sit in second place. With an impressive accumulation of 35 points from 17 games, they have notched up a remarkable record, having suffered their last defeat over four months ago against Kerala Blasters FC in the ISL. Lobera's men are currently in excellent form, proving to be a formidable competition for other teams in the league.

On the other hand, Chennaiyin FC have had a forgettable season so far, securing only four victories in their 16 games and amassing a total of 15 points. Their recent form hasn't been favourable, with the Marina Machans losing four out of their last five games.

The press conference commenced with the head coach emphasizing the significance of the remaining fixtures for his campaign.
"Every game is important for us, we had a big win (against East Bengal FC) in the last game, three very crucial points for us at this moment of the league. Now it's very important to compete well against Chennaiyin FC, it's a difficult team to play against, but they are definitely strong. It's not an easy game against Chennaiyin FC but if we want to get something important then we have to compete against every team. We had only two days between the games but there are no excuses and hopefully, we can go to the break with very good results," stated Lobera during the pre-match press conference. 
The Spaniard shared his insights into how each point he and his team earn, invertly adds more pressure on the remaining teams who are contesting for the League Shield. 
"It's one more game, three points are very important. It's important because we are in a very important part of the competition. I think by winning the next game we are applying pressure on our opponent teams who are right behind us. Every game's like a final and we need to realize this, and as always face it with excitement not feeling any pressure. We need to keep going," he shared.
The 47-year-old shared his thoughts on how the players were able to deliver when needed in the last game, emphasizing the positive influence of the fans in creating a conducive atmosphere for optimal performance. He highlighted how these elements collectively contributed to making the overall experience more enjoyable and less pressurizing.
He said, "It's amazing to watch the league table evolve to see Odisha FC in this position is amazing, we can all feel excitement and joy and not pressure. It's about very hard work, to have reached this position at the moment, and we need to enjoy it and be very happy with the performance of the team and players and the atmosphere the fans provided in the last game. And I wanna thank the fans for that."
Will be difficult to play Chennaiyin FC at their home: Jerry Lalrinzuala

During the pre-match press conference ahead of their game against the Marina Machans, head coach Lobera was accompanied by their 25-year-old full-back, who joined the team during last summer's transfer window. Lalrinzuala has played a crucial role in Lobera's system this season, offering support and attacking outlets for the Kalinga Warriors in all but one of their matches so far.

Sharing his perspective on facing his previous team and coach in Chennai, he stated, "Chennaiyin FC are a good team although they haven't got the results they liked so far. It will be very difficult to play them at their home, I know that but we will fight back and win the game."

"It's very important every game now, it's like every game is a final. We will prepare and recover well," he added.
The Mizoram-born player spoke his mind about being a part of such a side like Odisha FC, under the guidance of Lobera and his team.
"I am very lucky to play in Odisha FC under this coach, I knew the coach before as well and I wanted to play him, he gave me the opportunity so I am very lucky and thankful," he concluded.