ISL-debutant Igor Angulo underlines the importance of mental strength

FC Goa frontman Igor Angulo believes that mental strength will be vital for his team in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21, keeping in mind the unique nature of the season. The Spanish striker hopes that the Gaurs squad can gel like a family as he targets winning the league.

"We have a good enough team not only to play in the ISL but also in the Asian Champions League. Mental strength will be crucial because it is so much different from the seasons before. We have to get along well as a family. I have hope for a good season,” he was quoted as saying by goal.com.

"I never have personal targets. Football is a collective sport. For FC Goa, the target has to be to win the league, win the play-offs. This year we will be in Asian Champions League and I hope to do a very good role there also. I am an experienced player, so I hope to be able to teach the younger players. And I am a striker, so I have to help my team score goals and create chances and do as I did in the last few years," Angulo added.

The upcoming Asian Champions League campaign will see Goa become India’s first-ever club to participate in the group stage of the tournament. And while the Goa players will be excited about creating history, Angulo urged his teammates to keep their feet on the ground and approach matches on a ‘game-by-game’ basis.

"It's the first time an Indian club is going to play in Asian Champions League but now we are focused on the ISL as the Asian Champions League is very far. The most intelligent way is to go game-by-game and be close to the play-offs. All the teams will be eager to play us as we are the first team in the Asian Champions League but for us, we just have to go game-by-game," he said.

The 36-year-old also admitted that he has been pleasantly surprised by the quality of domestic players in Goa’s squad. "I was surprised by the quality of the Indian players. They are so motivated. We have a good mix of Indian players and foreigners. We are getting along very well and this will be crucial for this season. I hope we keep it like this till the end of the season," Angulo said.

While discussing the Gaurs’ pre-season, Angulo stressed the need to adapt to head coach Juan Ferrando’s ideas as well as the weather in Goa. "The first two weeks [in Goa], I was locked in a room [mandatory quarantine as per the COVID-19 protocol]. After that, it has been like a normal pre-season. It is very important now to make sure our physical condition is good and [that we] know each other well. We have to adapt ourselves to the ideas of the coach,” he said.

“There is not much time, but we have to make the best of the time we have to reach the best level possible. All the clubs are in the same situation, so we have no excuses. I'm not used to this weather… the humidity. The first few pieces of training were a bit hard but little by little I am getting used to it and we are working hard as a team," he added.

FC Goa begin their Hero ISL 2020-21 campaign with a clash against Bengaluru FC at the Fatorda Stadium on November 22.

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