Ferrando hopes FC Goa improve in attack against Al Wahda FC

FC Goa will be hoping to carry forward the positive momentum from their goalless draw against Al Rayyan SC when they take on Al Wahda FC in their second AFC Champions League Group E (West Region) clash at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa on Saturday. The Gaurs competed heroically and were defensively superb during the 0-0 draw against Al Rayyan SC on Wednesday, but head coach Juan Ferrando feels that his side can do better in attack heading into their second match in the group against Al Wahda FC from the United Arab Emirates.  

“I think the score was good because we played against a tougher team. But, of course, we want to improve more and continue in the same way. It’s necessary to have control in some details in attack because we did not have success in that part,” he told reporters at the pre-match press conference on Friday.

He went on to explain some of the areas for improvement that he has identified for his team. “For us, it’s necessary to improve on a lot of points. We know the quality of our squad, and we need to improve as a team. Sometimes it’s important to control the space. The solution is to play every season in the AFC Champions League,” Ferrando said.

“For me, it’s not a problem, it’s amazing. But I think it’s a good opportunity for the players because when you play six games at this level, you understand positional attack, timing of their press, control and transitions. For us, it’s a masterclass every game,” he added.

The 40-year-old also expects his players to be strong enough mentally to cope with the challenge of competing with some of the best clubs across Asia. “It is necessary to change some details, the style of Al Rayyan is different [compared to that of Al Wahda FC]. The problem for everybody is to change players’ minds and mentality because tomorrow we have an amazing game. Sometimes it’s important to control the emotions, the mentality of the team. For me it’s very important for everybody to pay attention, I don’t like only one game, I would like it to work for six games,” the Spaniard said.

While assessing the Emirati club, Ferrando opined: “Al Rayyan is in the past, our target is the next game. I know their coach [Henk ten Cate], I know their style, I know their attacking style. Tomorrow, we need a new plan. If we keep the ball, it is very difficult for Al Wahda to attack… if we don't play as a team, it will be very tough for us. We have to plan for each game and look to play as a team.”

Ferrando was accompanied to the press conference by Glan Martins, who was in inspiring form against Al Rayyan SC, and the midfielder admitted that playing alongside the likes of Edu Bedia and James Donachie is all the motivation that he needs to perform.

“Playing with Edu [Bedia], [James] Donachie, Ivan [Gonzalez] – all these players give you more motivation to go out there and do your best. Even if you make a mistake, they are there behind you to help. Even before the match, it was like let’s help each other. Now we have to focus on the next match, we have to take the same motivation and momentum in the next match also,” he said.

Martins also touched on the quality of football in the AFC Champions League. “We all know AFCCL matches are very competitive, standard is also very high... I think as a team in the first match, we have done well. The level is different, but we have to just keep going,” the midfielder added.

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