Gombau: We are here to try and win

After a disappointing loss in their last outing, Odisha FC take on NorthEast United FC at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati in their second away fixture in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20. Even though Odisha FC narrowly lost to Jamshedpur FC in their last encounter, head coach Josep Gombau had a few positives to take away from the match.

While speaking at the pre-match press conference ahead of the clash against the Highlanders, Gombau seemed confident with his young squad. “I think we had a good game (in our last outing). But we need to learn from the mistakes that we made in the game. We took some wrong decisions and missed some chances to score as well. I think we have a young squad, the youngest squad in the Hero ISL. When younger players play after a long time there is some pressure on them, but now that they have played their first game, we are very motivated and we are here to try to win,” he said.

Odisha FC will be up against NorthEast’s talisman Asamoah Gyan and while he won’t be their sole threat, Gombau admitted that he was wary of the danger the Ghanaian poses. “He is a big name, but we are not a team that does any special man-to-man marking. It’s true that our players know him. We need to be careful because he has a lot of quality. I hope that it’s not his day (against us).”

The Spaniard was also effusive in his praise for Hero ISL and its role behind the growth of Indian football. “I think that the league is growing. A lot of young Indian players are developing more as the league grows. They are working hard. There are a lot of academies around the country. In my team, there are a lot of young players I feel very confident about. I like the way they play. I think that they have a good future in football in India,” Gombau said.

The 43-year-old was joined by midfielder Vinit Rai at the press conference and the Indian youngster spoke about what it would be like to play in his hometown. “It’s really an honour to play in front of my (home) crowd. Obviously, I will not be playing for the home team, but it always feels special to be back in my home state and to play in front of the fans. When they cheer for me it feels good. I’m very grateful for them,” Rai said.

Read the Match Preview here.

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