Josep Gombau: Need to go back home with a win
Odisha FC take on ATK FC in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Saturday. The Bhubaneswar-based club will be looking for a win in order to stay in the fight for a place in the top four heading into the final stages of the league phase.
At the pre-match press conference, Odisha head coach Josep Gombau underlined the importance of the upcoming fixture and stated, “This is an important moment now, this is our last away game and we need to go back home with a win. We are preparing hard for the game. We know that ATK are one of the strongest teams in the league and are fighting to be in the top position. But I think that in this league, there is not a lot of difference between the teams. We know what we have to do. We need to win all the remaining games. This is our mentality.”
Adding this this, he said, “We want to go and win the game. Right now, we are concentrating on the game against ATK. After that, we will see what happens. After that we have two home games, which, for us, are important. We are doing quite well at home and we are confident that we can get the wins at home. Everybody is working hard, and we are positive.”
Odisha come into the tie on the back of a home loss to table toppers FC Goa. Illustrating how the defeat was a big blow to the team’s top four ambitions, the Spaniard commented, “The loss in the last game was tough for us because it was at home while we are fighting to be in the top four. We need to learn from that game. We made some mistakes that cost us a few goals.”
In Odisha’s defence, the team was missing four important first team regulars – Shubham Sarangi, Carlos Delgado, Marcos Tebar and Nandhakumar Sekar - against Goa due to suspensions and injuries. Confirming the team will be at full strength against ATK, Gombau revealed, “Ever player is available. We don’t have any suspensions or injuries which is good when we start this round of three games. We mathematically still have a chance to qualify for the fourth spot. We know ATK are a very good team and we are going to play away. So, it will be difficult. We are training with concentration and will play a good game and try to win.”
The Spaniard then showered praise on his team, especially the younger players, and said, “We have a very young team. Moreover, we played our first 10 games consecutively away from our home at Bhubaneswar. Considering this and the fact that we are still fighting for the top four with three games to go, we have done well. I think three of the four clubs in the top four have spent a lot bringing in big names and have a lot of experienced Indian players. I think what we are doing is quite good considering the circumstances. We are developing young players which also makes me proud.”
Striker Manuel Onwu, who recently joined Odisha on loan from Bengaluru, spoke about how he has been settling in at his new club. “I have been feeling good and comfortable with the coaching staff and my teammates here. There’s not a lot of pressure. In the last game, I was lucky to score a few goals. Now we need to prepare for the next game. If I can score, then it will be good for the team. I’m very happy because I think we have a very good atmosphere. (In the last match) Even though we were losing 3-0 at one point of the game, the fans were very supportive as they kept cheering us on.”
Read the Match Preview here.