Odisha FC head coach Sergio Lobera commended his players' efforts after his side edged past Kerala Blasters FC by a 2-1 scoreline in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Friday.

The Kalinga Warriors made a comeback in the second half with Roy Krisha’s brace, despite trailing by a goal by the end of the first half. Kerala Blasters FC took the lead with Greek forward Dimitrios Diamantakos’s classic finish inside the penalty box, but the hosts came back strong to seal their fifth consecutive victory at home. Notably, with two goals for the evening, Krishna became the third player to reach 50 ISL goals after Bartholomew Ogbeche and Sunil Chhetri.

Lobera was delighted to secure another victory for their team, but acknowledged that it was not very easy for his side to comeback after facing a 3-2 defeat against East Bengal FC in the Kalinga Super Cup final.

“I'm very happy because we got three very important points against a very good opponent team, but we need to analyse the game. It is not easy coming from a big loss at home in terms of expectations and losing one trophy,” Lobera stated in the post-match press conference.

Lobera mentioned that his players were not mentally at their best, as they committed some mistakes during the first half. But he seemed happy with his team’s second-half performance where they bounced back after conceding the goal, showcasing their character and eagerness to win the match.

“In the first half, we played more thinking about the previous match,” he said.

“We were making mistakes, which is not usual for us, but I am very happy and proud of my players because of the comeback in the second half after conceding the goal. We showed everyone in the second half what kind of team we are, and we need to be till the end (of the season),” he added.

Lobera sees these three points as very crucial for his side, as he firmly believes that these important points against tough opponents will help his side be in a comfortable position in the points table by the end of the season.

“I think it's a very tough game. Getting three points in this kind of match can be remembered at the end of the season because it gives us good opportunities at the table to get something important,” he opined.

Lobera’s men have displayed their indomitable spirit and fighting mentality several times this season by securing points coming from behind. Speaking about his instructions during the halftime break, Lobera shared that he urged his players to keep believing in themselves and their style of play.

“Especially (asked the players) to increase their confidence and collective spirit. When we are making mistakes, we need to think about the next one. We cannot play in the past,” he shared.

“I think their chances were because of our mistakes in the first half, and I thought the players need to increase their motivation for the second half, keep believing in themselves, and be loyal to our style of play by having more possession of the ball,” he added.

Odisha FC will next play against Hyderabad FC on Monday at the GMC Balayogi Athletic Stadium in Hyderabad. The Spaniard does not want his players to lose their focus and energy and he wants them to build on their performance to get the better of Thangboi Singto’s team.

“We need to be ready. These kinds of games could be dangerous because people think Hyderabad FC are in a difficult situation. It's true, but they have quality players, young players; they did a very good Super Cup for me; they played very good football, and we need to be careful,” he asserted.

"Sometimes, if you are overconfident, you can have problems. I think they deserve all of our respect. They are going to compete well, and if we do not give our 100%, I'm sure we are not going to win the game,” he concluded.