Jacobo Varela: Happy with win but it wasn’t easy

Odisha FC moved just one point off the top four in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 table with a 2-0 win over Chennaiyin FC at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Monday. Jerry Mawihmingthanga and Vinit Rai got on the score sheet for the hosts. It was also Odisha’s second victory on a row at the venue.

At the post-match press conference, Odisha’s assistant coach Jacobo Varela assessed the contest and opined, “It wasn’t very comfortable for me. I was nervous in the bench and it wasn’t easy. It’s true that we scored and kept a clean sheet, that’s something we have to appreciate.”

Striker Aridane Santana put in a solid shift on the night despite not getting on the score sheet. Commenting on the Spaniard’s performance, Varela said, “Aridane, for us, is an extremely important player. Having him on the team sheet is always better. It’s good for the confidence and we can use that in the upcoming games as well. We are happy with the win. But it wasn’t easy.”

Odisha head coach Josep Gombau was suspended from the sidelines and had to watch the match from the stands. Asked if the head coach’s absence in the dugout had any impact, Varela noted, “I know him (Gombau) well and he knows me well. I know what he wants. We prepared the plan for the game very well. We even had contingencies for injuries and red cards in place. We prepared for the game thoroughly and thankfully, the game went according to the plan. So, it wasn’t a big deal.”

Speaking of the home support present at the stadium, Varela remarked, “Today I heard the fans in the stadium pushing the team. I really felt the atmosphere. Slowly Odisha FC are getting into a state. We have something very beautiful going on. I hope they come and support us in a few days against Mumbai City FC. Now is the moment. We have made a flawless start here with six points from two games.”

There was a visible drop in intensity in Odisha’s game in the second half as they attempted to safeguard their lead. Asked if there was a conscious attempt to tactically slow the game down, Varela responded, “It is true we couldn’t maintain the pace of the game throughout. It is hard. We are not a team that can control every second of the game. We were comfortable in the first half and in the second half we were concentrating more on defending the lead. We were trying hard not to concede that first goal which could create doubts in our team.”

Read the Match Report here.

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