Odisha FC head coach Sergio Lobera believes Jamshedpur FC who his team faces next in the Indian Super League (ISL) on Saturday are improving with every match and will pose a tough challenge to his team. 

The Kalinga Warriors though are in red-hot form and are unbeaten in their last ten matches in all competitions having won eight of those matches. The Spaniard is happy with his team’s form but wants to keep his focus on the games ahead. 

“I think these numbers (ten games unbeaten) mean a lot to us,” Lobera said in the pre-match press conference. 

“We need to focus on the future. The past is the past. If we think we are going to win the game against Jamshedpur FC because we are ten games unbeaten then this is impossible,” he added. 

“But as a coach, as a club and as supporters we need to be happy because we are achieving something difficult and something important,” he continued. 

The key to their recent success has been a solid defensive organisation that has seen them keep clean sheets in four out of their last five ISL matches. But Lobera believes it is important to have a good balance between attack and defence. 

“We want to play attacking football but also have balance in defensive situations,” he said. 

“I think the team is improving a lot. We have had chances where we haven't scored. so for us, it's important to have that balance where we keep clean sheets but also take advantage of the chances. I am happy with the way the team is at this moment,” he added. 

The former FC Goa and Mumbai City FC head coach though is wary of the threat posed by Jamshedpur FC who are coming into the game on the back of a 5-0 win and a week’s rest. 

“We are going to play against a team that has improved in the last few games,” Lobera said. 

“They deserve more points than what they have on the table. Now they are getting points. So, it will be a tough game. They have a good balance between the offence and defence. They have strong and skilful players,” he added. 

Odisha FC will be enjoying home advantage on Friday and expressed his gratitude towards the fans who have stuck with the team through the thick and thin. 

“The fans were there when we lost continuous games in the AFC Cup. I want to thank them and hopefully, we can celebrate something special together,” he said. 

The coach is giving us freedom: Jerry Mawihmingthanga

Winger Jerry Mawihmingthanga accompanied head coach Lobera in the pre-match conference and gave an insight into his management style. 

“I think the coach is giving us freedom. So we are able to express our feelings and play how we want to. He is giving us confidence. This is really important for a player,” he said. 

“I think we have good momentum. The results show that. The team is doing very well,” he added. 

Odisha FC have a much stronger squad this season and Jerry feels the added quality helps players improve further. 

“It is always good to have good competition. It only helps us to grow. It boosts the team,” he concluded.