Clifford Miranda's tenure as interim head coach of Odisha FC was undoubtedly a memorable one and his impact on the team will be remembered for a long time. Fans were uncertain about the future when the club decided to part ways with Joseph Gombau just days after he had guided the team to the playoffs of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) for the first time in the club’s history.

The former Indian international stepped up to the occasion to fill the empty shoes of Gombau and succeeded in his task effectively. Despite limited preparation time, Miranda brought about a change in the team with his great man-management skills and tactical insights.  He instilled a winning mentality within the squad that was evident in their gameplay.

“In our first meeting with the players, I told them: ‘Maybe, I don’t have the same pedigree as foreign coaches, maybe I don’t have the same experience compared to a lot of coaches you'll have worked under, maybe I am relatively young or never had experience (of being a head coach), but I will convince you'll by my methodology, my knowledge of the game, my understanding of football and will try and ensure that everyone is comfortable working under me’,” Miranda told TOI in an interview.

It is always challenging to take charge of a team in the aftermath of a departing head coach in a situation where Miranda had less than a month to prepare for the Hero Super Cup. 

However, his previous role as deputy to Gombau gave him a good understanding of the team’s requirements. His familiarity with the squad and their playing style allowed him to hit the ground running and efficiently implement his own changes.

When asked about his ambitions with the squad upon taking charge of the team, he said: “I thought we could try and win matches, go as far as possible, but first I had to convince the players that I am the one to take them forward, that the club has made the right decision.” 

“The journey from March 16 when I had my first training to April 9 when we played our first game was very important. Not in terms of success, but in terms of the process,” Miranda added.

Under Miranda’s leadership, Odisha FC played with great determination and their performances were a testament to his coaching abilities. Miranda expressed his emotions and elaborated on what the triumph signifies to him.

“The triumph is fantastic. It validates my belief that I am on the right track. Victory, though, is not the final validation. What I promised them on March 15, I have come to fulfilling that. I can see respect from the players. That was most important for me,” said Miranda.

The 40-year-old Goan coach was successful in bringing out the best in his players which helped them lift their first-ever trophy in history. He emphasizes that following the right process is as important as winning trophies.

“If we had won the Hero Super Cup, but not followed the process, not convinced the players, for the world it would mean I have won, the first Indian coach and all that stuff, but within my heart, it would have been hollow,” explained Miranda.

Miranda’s managerial career has been on a sharp learning curve since joining FC Goa's coaching team before the 2019-20 season. He has mentioned his time working under different Spanish coaches during his stints with FC Goa and Odisha FC. 

He also highlighted his experience working with Ferrando, the current head coach of ATK Mohun Bagan, during his time at FC Goa, and the valuable insights and knowledge he gained from him.

“I worked with three coaches as an assistant: Sergio (Lobera) is a very nice person, and I had good relations with (Josep) Gombau, but I learned the most from Juan Ferrando,” he said.

“He gave me responsibility. I was his direct assistant, the first assistant. Being with him as his direct assistant took me several notches higher,” Miranda concluded.