Home or away, FC Goa never change their idea of football: Carlos Pena
FC Goa head coach Carlos Pena has full respect for Chennaiyin FC, their opponents in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) on Friday but has no reason to fear them despite their unbeaten start to the season.
The Gaurs will travel to Chennai to face the Marina Machans who beat ATK Mohun Bagan in their opening match before holding Bengaluru FC in their second match. However, Pena’s side will also go in with a lot of confidence having tasted victory against East Bengal FC in their season opener.
Pena though maintained that FC Goa will not change their approach and will try to take the game to Chennaiyin FC on their own patch and claim all three points as he looks to build on their win in Kolkata.
Pena and defender Aiban Dohling spoke to the media ahead of the match against FC Goa.
Here are the excerpts from the pre-match press conference:
The last match against East Bengal FC was your first match as head coach of FC Goa. What were your thoughts on the game and the occasion for you?
Pena: I think the first game against East Bengal FC was a pretty good challenge for us. We got a victory, three points. We were playing away against a tough team with their fans back in the stadium after a long time and with no official games for us in the pre-season. I think the players played very well with a positive attitude in difficult circumstances. That’s why we value the win a lot. But now East Bengal FC is in the past, we are very happy because we got three points there and now we focus on Chennaiyin FC and on getting another victory.
Personally, it was special of course. But it's very important for the coach to control your feelings, and control your emotions. We can't be nervous as our objective is to help the players during the game.
Do you feel there were areas to improve in your first match against East Bengal FC?
Pena: After working with the squad for two months, there were many new things for the players and the players were new as well. It was our first game and of course, we were happy with the win and three points. There are many things to improve and we know that.
Chennaiyin FC are unbeaten after their first two matches. How do you see them as opponents?
Pena: From my experience as a player, Chennaiyin FC always have good teams. They have many fans in the stadium and create a great environment. We love that.
Chennaiyin FC have got two very good results against two strong teams ATK Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC. They are playing really well, they are a dynamic team and are going to be really tough opponents. We respect them a lot but have no fear. It's going to be a tough game for both teams and we are going to face this game as any other match. We will be brave and try to get the three points, doesn't matter if we play at home or away.
How do you advise your team to tackle the pressure of the home fans as Chennaiyin FC saw strong home support in the last match?
Pena: As a football player and a football coach, you need to enjoy these environments. It's amazing to play in front of people and in front of fans. Of course, it's better when these fans support you when we play at home. But playing against opponents' fans is also amazing. I think this was one of the aspects that we try to manage in the last match because some players hadn't played in front of fans at all. I think the players managed it very well.
FC Goa have a certain style of playing since your playing days and you have embraced that as a head coach. But do you feel against teams like Chennaiyin FC that sit back and absorb pressure, you may need to change the tactics a bit?
Pena: Our idea, our mentality is going to be the same no matter who we are going to face. Of course, you need to pay attention to some aspects of the strategy of the opponent. We have analysed that, share that information with the players and we try to adapt our idea a little bit. But the mentality, the way we face the games is going to be the same in any game.
How much impact will it have on your approach to the season given we have six teams qualifying for the playoffs this season?
Pena: Of course, it will have a big impact. Last season, a team in the tenth position didn't have a chance to get into the top four but now a team in the ninth position will have a chance to get into the top six. So, I think it's a good idea for the league to have this new format and it's going to make this league even more exciting.
Here are the excerpts from Aiban Dohling’s press conference:
You started as a centre-back and are playing as a left-back. This is exactly opposite to the coach's journey who started as a left-back and played centre-back later on. What advice have you received from the head coach so far?
Dohling: As a player, you want to play all the time, so whichever position the coach puts you in, you have to be ready and it's special for me to learn from him. In my first season here, he was playing as a centre-back. At that time, I was young, training and learning every day. I didn't get to play a lot of games in that season but in the past two seasons, I have learned a lot. Having him as a coach will benefit me a lot throughout the season and I will try and improve myself.
You have seen four different coaches at FC Goa. Do you see any difference in tactical approaches?
Dohling: We were very happy that Carlos was coming in as coach. We were very happy because he knows the club very well and he knows what style we play at FC Goa. Sergio Lobera was different, Juan Ferrando was different and Derrick was different too. So I was happy Carlos came in as he would bring in his own methodology. We spent two months in pre-season with him and got to know how he wants us to play. We have been learning every day and I hope we can do well this season and win the trophy.
How has your relationship with Carlos Pena changed from being a teammate to being a coach?
Dohling: He was a player that always motivated me. When I came in, I was very young and I was making a lot of mistakes. he used to urge me to keep improving and now as a head coach, he is still the same. We still maintain a relationship because he is a head coach now. I respect him and he respects me as a player as well. I am still learning every day from him just like I did when I came in at FC Goa
Watch FC Goa's full pre-match press conference below: