I take full responsibility for tonight’s defeat: Odisha FC's Josep Gombau

Odisha FC head coach Josep Gombau held himself responsible for the defeat against FC Goa in matchweek 10 of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 when his side lost 3-0 after going a man down at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Margao, on Saturday.

Goals from Brison Fernandes, Noah Sadaoui, and Alvaro Vazquez in the second half put more misery on the Juggernauts after forward Nandhakumar Sekar received a second yellow card and was sent off. The defeat means Odisha FC remain in the fourth spot while FC Goa are in the fifth spot, three points shy of tonight’s opponents.

Gombau appreciated his players for putting out a brave performance and for approaching the game with same mentality even after going a man down. He mentioned how they deserved a positive outcome, especially after controlling the game in the first half, but he remains optimistic that they will stay focused and get a result in the upcoming game.

The Spaniard highlighted that it is tough to win away from home and was firm about turning this result around in the reverse fixture as he addressed the media in the official post match press conference.

Here are the excerpts from Gombau’s press conference:

Is there something you want to rectify from tonight’s match?

This match happened in two different halves. In the first half, we controlled the game, we had the ball and created the chances, but the defenders of FC Goa cleared the ball off the line twice, and we also hit the post.

In the second half, the game was fairly equal until the second yellow card for Nandhakumar Sekar, and we were down to 10 men. FC Goa had control of the game in that moment, and I take responsibility because normally when the team is down to 10 men, the coach wants them to drop and defend, but I felt we could have gone for the game even with 10 men, and I pushed the team to press higher and try to score, and that is when we conceded the goals.

That is something where I take the responsibility because the players played well, worked hard, and were brave. This is the way I want my team to approach the game, but we are disappointed to go home with this result, that’s football, and we need to be focused for the next game and try to win it on Thursday.

Your team played really well, especially in the first half. What are the positives you can take from tonight’s game?

We controlled the first half totally, we had the chances, and I am sure if we had scored on those chances, the result would have been different. The second half, the game was fairly equal and both teams had momentum, but with 10 men it is something for me to think about, to be brave and be more concentrated.

What does being brave exactly mean? Do you think even with 10 men, Odisha FC would have won all three points?

We came here and tried to attack, in the first half, the ball was in FC Goa’s half. With 10 men, it was more difficult, and I took the responsibility. I want to congratulate the players who played well and followed the instructions of the coach. I am happy with the performance and I put this loss on myself for the way I decided the team would play even with 10 men.

Both Odisha FC and FC Goa were in the top six before tonight’s game. Bearing that in mind, how important is this result?

It is all about three points, and today we played away and lost three games out of nine. It is not easy to come away and win, and I think with the way we played in the first half, we deserved to go into half time with a positive result in our hands. I want to congratulate FC Goa for the win. We wait for them to come to Odisha and beat them in the reverse fixture.

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