Josep Gombau: This season was the beginning of something nice for Odisha

Odisha FC concluded their inaugural Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) campaign with a thrilling 4-4 draw against Kerala Blasters FC at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Sunday. The point took the club’s tally in Hero ISL 2019-20 to 25 points from 18 matches, as they ended their campaign on the sixth position in the table.

In an exclusive post-match interview, Odisha head coach Josep Gombau summarized his team’s season and said, “For me, it was very positive. It was the beginning of something nice for the club. I think that, we had a lot of difficulties. First nine games away (from our designated home ground). It is difficult. After we came here at Bhubaneswar, we played six games and won four. I think that, with a lot of young players, we played good football. We were fighting until the very end for the semi-finals. I am very happy as a coach. I am proud of this.”

Elaborating on the club’s youth-first philosophy, the Spaniard opined, “As a club, we have this philosophy. We are signing a lot of young players and we aim to develop them. We are not a club that signs experienced players. As a coach, I like to work with young players. Shubham (Sarangi), an 18-year-old boy that played all the games as a full-back. Gaurav Bora played 10 games. Vinit (Rai) is also young, Jerry (Mawihmingthanga) is also young. This is something that is important for me as a coach.”

Gombau also shared his delight at the performances of Manuel Onwu, who scored a hat-trick on the night, and stated, “Onwu was excellent. I know him from before. I saw that he is a good player. Aridane Santana’s injury was a bit loss for us. He was excellent and not just on the pitch, but also outside it. He showed the young players how to play. He was a good character. Onwu and Aridane are the type of strikers that I like. I am so happy with Onwu. He is a very good guy.”

Lastly, the Odisha head coach appreciated the support his team received from the home fans since moving to Odisha. He commented, “We are enjoying a lot. The fans are treating us very well. I know that for the next season, the facilities will be better. The good thing is the fans. Every game we had good base of fans coming to support us. As a coach, as a player, you like to play in front of people.”

Read the Match Report here.

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