Iriondo labels FC Goa a ‘great team’ ahead of crucial tie

Jamshedpur FC’s next assignment in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 will be away to FC Goa at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Tuesday. After two wins on the bounce, Antonio Iriondo’s men faced some disappointment in the following two fixtures, where they shared the spoils with Bengaluru FC before losing out against ATK.

The Jamshedpur head coach, however, feels his team have done reasonably well so far this season, and wasn’t reading too much into their last two results. “We have played against two of the teams that are supposed to be at the top of the league at the end of the season, like Kolkata (ATK) and Bengaluru,” said the Spaniard at his pre-match press conference. “So, we are happy with the results. We are in the process of working on our game to get better.”

Adding FC Goa to that bracket of top teams, Iriondo claimed, “Goa, Kolkata and Bengaluru for me, are the top three teams at this moment. So, I’m not going to tell you how we are going to try and beat (Goa). They are a great team, and let’s see.”

The 66-year-old also felt that the Gaurs have a squad capable of replacing suspended duo, Seiminlen Doungel and Hugo Boumous. “Great teams, teams that are able to win championships, are those that have good squads. Goa is a great team even without those two players. So, we are going to face a difficult team,” he said.

As far as his own team is concerned, Iriondo hopes that the rest afforded by the international break makes them stronger. “I hope (the break) was good for us. When you have a few good matches before a break like this, you have to be very careful. For us, it is maybe good. We have more time to prepare, more time to train, and keep improving. So, I think it is going to be good.”

With respect to his expectations from his side, Iriondo answered, “I will like the players to adjust a bit quicker to what I want from them. But we have to understand that it is a little bit tough to do what we are asking. Difficult things and good things take time. So, we are going to try to keep improving and try to be better, and get the team we want to have.”

Striker Sergio Castel, who had accompanied his coach to the pre-match briefing, revealed what made him join Jamshedpur FC. “I made the decision to come to India because I felt it was a great opportunity for me to improve. When such a big country like this calls you, I don’t think too much. I knew the coach before, the way he used to play. So, for me it was an easy decision. The way that we are playing is that we are trying to improve everyday in training. So, we have to keep doing that. I am very happy to stay here with this team and with this club.”

The Spanish striker also spoke of how he is enjoying playing in India and the physicality of the league “Here, my first impression is that the game is very physical. There are two blocks and too much space, but it is good for fans. Sometimes there are many goals. Not like in Spain and Italy where it is very tactical. So, I like to play here. I enjoy myself,” Castel said.

Read the Match Preview here.

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