Delighted with the result and the fighting spirit: OFC head coach Josep Gombau

Odisha FC head coach Josep Gombau was pleased to see his side get all three points and a clean sheet as they climbed to the top of the table of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 after clinching a narrow 1-0 win over Bengaluru FC at the Kalinga Stadium, in Bhubaneswar, on Thursday.

Gombau said he has faith in what he has seen from the players so far and hails this as a significant victory. The Spaniard was extremely happy with the grit shown by his team until full-time who did not put a step wrong while also appreciating the effort put up by the opposition, Bengaluru FC.

Gombau stated that the home ground acts like extra men, be it home or away, and demands the same support from the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar throughout the season as he spoke in an official post-match press conference.

Here are the excerpts from Gombau’s press conference:

You are at the top of the table. How important is it to start the season well?

If we start the season as well as we have, it brings in the much needed confidence. The pressure will not get onto the team and the players start to believe more in what we as a team are working on the training ground. It was vital for us to get the win. We are at the top of the standings currently but that is not our objective right now as we want to stay there until the end of the season.

Which is the thing that impressed you the most from the game?

The hard-working spirit and the successful execution of the plan we discussed prior to the game along with winning the second balls and fighting for the duels is what amongst the things that impressed me the most. It was a difficult game for us and my team coming out with a positive outcome is a big plus for us.

Bengaluru FC showed a strong character, they adapted very well to the atmosphere and it was not easy for both the teams. We created two chances in the first half, while in the second half we had a couple of more chances which made it even tougher for the opposition.

What was the thought process of the team at half time since you were going in with a very slender lead of 1-0? Did you change anything for the second half?

It has just been 45 minutes and there are 45 more to come ahead of us. We were winning 1-0 but I asked them to stay strong on all fronts especially when going for the duels and second balls or while winning the challenges.

You made an early substitution in the second half. Was it a tactical call from you?

The game was going on at a very normal pace, it was steady. Although it was a very physical battle, I took the call of taking off a striker for a striker as it is important for a striker to be the first player to start pressing. Diego Mauricio was struggling a bit at the hour mark and I wanted fresh legs to cover up and extend the lead which Pedro Martin brought in with him who deserved to get some game time and also brings in the much needed style of play which I demand from my side.

Your thoughts on Nandha Kumar Sekar’s performance? How has he improved since coming to the club?

I trust him (Nandhakumar Sekar). He is working hard and every player has to keep improving. He does not stay in the attacking half all the time and does defend whenever the team requires and is also one of the players who covers a lot of ground while on the pitch.

I am very happy and it is huge that he scored the goal which got us the very important three points.

The Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar has been a great hunting ground for you once you came back from the pandemic. Do you think it will keep on going or will you carry on with the same thought process for the upcoming games?

It is pretty important for us to play at home. We do like to play home and away, but we certainly like to play in front of our home support who act as the 12th man that we need in every game we play.

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