Ferrando: We cannot think this is the last game and relax
FC Goa lock horns with UAE’s Al Wahda in what will be their last Group E (West Region) encounter of the 2021 AFC Champions League at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda on Thursday night. The Gaurs are already out of the reckoning after three draws and two defeats in their previous matches but they will like to finish their maiden campaign on a high with a win against the second-placed Emirati club who have the top position to play for. And FC Goa head coach Juan Ferrando agreed Al Wahda will prove much more difficult than last time around when they shared the points after a goalless draw on April 17.
“We know that it’s a difficult game because Al Wahda have a good chance to finish on top. We prepare one plan but it’s difficult because of problems with players’ injuries, they are very tired. But of course our target is to be competitive in the next game and try to get three points,” the Spaniard said at the pre-match press conference.
“In football, we need to think [about] three points. It’s going to be difficult, it’s a great opportunity for Al Wahda to participate in the next round. For us, we are thinking about the third position. We can’t think this is the last game and relax. This is the AFC Champions League, we need to be strong and participate, find the best XI tomorrow and prepare a tactical plan,” he added.
Ferrando also stressed the importance of finding best personnel for the task at hand. “The most important thing is to make best decisions. Sometimes, we are thinking who is better on the pitch, who helps the team more in a moment. But the problem is, for example, a player is not 100% [fit] on the pitch, he’s exhausted. In this case, we need to prepare,” he said.
The Spaniard was accompanied by fullback Seriton Fernandes who had a good game against Al Rayyan SC in a 1-1 draw on Monday night. Seriton shared his experience of playing in such a prestigious and competitive tournament so far. “In the AFC Champions League, there are many good teams. So, it’s difficult to play. We have to focus on the next match and prepare to win,” he said.
“As I always say, fans are the twelfth man for us. If they are there, it’s a different feeling. I really miss them. If we win the match, I will dedicate it to my fans and the whole of India which is suffering from Covid-19. We just want to win because of them.”
(Readers please note this article was written on April 28. However on April 29, FC Goa confirmed their foreign contingent, including the head coach, have been asked to fly back home immediately in view of recent policies being taken by European and other countries in regard to travellers from India as the nation battles the second wave of Covid-19.)