Clifford Miranda: Lobera built this team and we can’t forget his contributions
FC Goa confirmed their spot in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 semi-finals with a commanding 4-1 win over Hyderabad FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa on Wednesday. Playing their first match after the departure of long-time head coach Sergio Lobera, the Gaurs exhibited no jitters at all as they dispatched bottom-placed Hyderabad convincingly courtesy braces from Hugo Boumous and Ferran Corominas.
More importantly, the win allowed Goa to open up a three-point gap with ATK FC at the top of the table, thereby giving themselves a boost in their pursuit for the summit spot and consequently an AFC Champions League slot. At the post-match press conference, Goa interim coach Clifford Miranda said, “Very happy with the result. Our primary target was getting to the top four when we started the season and here we are. With two more games to go, we will try to be top when the league phase ends.”
Speaking about how the team is transitioning in the post-Lobera era, Miranda stated, “It’s a process. We can’t forget what Sergio Lobera has done for this team. He built this team and we can’t forget his contributions, neither me nor the club. He made sure the team played according to the club’s philosophy and helped the club move up a level in the last three years. (The next step), it’s a process and we are going through that.”
Asked if Lobera’s departure had adversely affected the team at some level, Miranda opined, “There’s no negativity in the team. There are no problems or difficulties within the team. We are professionals and are being paid to do our jobs. As you could see today, the performance was right up there. I didn’t have to do much. The players have been there together for a long time. We can only guide them and that’s what Technical Director Derrick Pereira and I have been doing.”
Enquired whether he thought the dominating win was Goa’s best performance this season, he noted, “Since the league started, we have been doing really well. Sometimes the performance levels are really good and sometimes it’s normal. This will be up there as one of our best performances this season, but it’s debateable if it was ‘the’ best.”
Read the Match Report here.