Jesus Tato: Pressure on Bengaluru and not us

League leaders, FC Goa will be aiming to extend their lead at the top of the table to six points when they travel to face Bengaluru FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Friday. The Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2018-19 runners-up have been sensational on both ends of the pitch so far this term, scoring a league-high 22 goals and letting in just 12.

Three of those goals were conceded by them in the second half of their last match against Chennaiyin FC but their assistant coach Jesus Tato feels his players are hardly to blame for that. “It’s true that we were leading at half-time in the last match with a big difference (3-0). But in the second half, credit has to go to Chennai players. They started the second half with a lot of energy, trying to force us to get back and we started to suffer,” Tato told the media at the pre-match press conference.

“I think we have to check our mistakes but also we have to give credit to our players because in the worst moment, they scored a goal, bounced back, and after that, finished the match and got the three points, which was very important for us to continue at the top of the table. It’s true that we suffered in the second half, but it’s also true that we got the three points,” he opined.

Turning his attention to the Blues, Tato commented, “We are going to face one of the best teams in the Hero ISL. They are the champions and it’s a big match for us. But at the moment, the pressure is on them. We have a five-point lead on them. They said at the beginning of the season that their objective is to arrive at the end of the season at first on the table.”

“But we have this (five-point) gap and we can go to Bengaluru full of confidence to keep going with our style, and if we get three points, the gap becomes bigger, eight points. The pressure is on them and we only have to go with the same attitude and philosophy.”

Finally, the Gaurs’ assistant coach claimed that the youngsters within the Goa ranks had a lot of quality about them, with Brandon Fernandes and Mohammad Nawaz being testaments of that. “Brandon, Mandar (Rao Dessai), Nawaz, there are a lot of players that are improving. They are enjoying themselves with this club. We want more players (from our team) in the Indian national team. We work a lot to improve these players and now a new generation is pushing hard to play. They have high quality as well,” he said.

Mandar, who was seated alongside Tato at the media briefing, also expressed what he expects from the game. “As the coach said, (Bengaluru) have pressure on them because they are third on the table and we are five points ahead. If we win this game, it will be a good points difference and it will motivate us more to be top of the table. At the starting of the season, we did not have a full squad because of injuries. But the team was doing good. In the last four games, we are doing well.”

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