Ferrando promises improvement ahead of Al Rayyan SC encounter

FC Goa will take on Qatari club Al Rayyan SC in their Group E (West Region) encounter of the AFC Champions League at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda on Monday night. The two-time Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) finalists will be looking for their first win of the tournament after two successive losses to Persepolis FC and they will fancy themselves against a side that are currently at the bottom of the group with one draw and three defeats.  

In the first leg between the two teams -- what was also their first game of the competition on April 14 -- FC Goa played bravely and held Al Rayyan SC to a 0-0 draw. Ahead of the second leg, Gaurs head coach Juan Ferrando addressed the media and said that the match will be tougher for his team this time because of the fatigue factor. “The second leg is different. Firstly, because the players are tired. After 10-12 days and four games, the players are tired. It’s a different game but let us not forget that we will be playing against a very good team.”

“In 16 days, six games are very difficult [next game for FC Goa on April 29 against Al Wahda]. Of course, our squad has nearly the same problems as the other teams. We have injuries also. The players don’t have big injuries but they are very tired. For us, the last two games are very important.

“To prepare the plans, it’s very important to be strong psychologically because it’s a pleasure to participate in the AFC Champions League. We want to do the best on the pitch in the coming games.”

The Spaniard is confident that following the 4-0 drubbing in their last game his team will improve in the remaining two matches. “…When you lose 4-0, it’s difficult, of course. I then had to understand why the scoreline was not good before explaining it to the players, and then explain the new plans. It is also important to think that the first experience is key. I know we can change, we can improve and prepare a new plan. The players are ready. I am so happy because we will be better than the last two games,” said Ferrando.

When asked about how the AFC Champions League experience will benefit his side in the Hero ISL, the 40-year-old said: “When you prepare a game in the Hero ISL and the AFC Champions League, it’s very different. You can see that in Hero ISL games, the plan of the various teams for the full 90 minutes is more or less the same. Here, they change their tactics depending on the moments. It is necessary to read them on time and prepare accordingly.”

Jorge Ortiz, who kept Ferrando company at the event, added more on the matter. “On the pitch, the one big difference is the amount of time and space you get on the ball. In the Hero ISL, a lot of teams tend to stick to one strategy throughout the entire game. In the AFC Champions League, teams adapt to you a lot quicker, they analyse you quickly. Once you do something, you’re not going to have the chance to do it again,” he said.


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