Josep Gombau: We grew as a team despite the loss

Odisha FC's four-match winning run in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 came to an end as they went down 3-0 to Bengaluru FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Wednesday. Odisha conceded two quick goals in the 23rd and 25th minute and found it difficult to come back into the match thereafter. A Sunil Chhetri penalty in the second half wrapped up the affair for the home side.

Speaking at the post-match press conference, Odisha head coach Josep Gombau admitted that his team’s defensive work while defending set-pieces needs to improve. He said, “Something needs to improve. We conceded from three set-pieces. This is the part of the game we need to analyze.”

The Spaniard, however, felt injuries to key personnel like Marcos Tebar and Aridane Santana seriously affected his side’s rhythm in the tie. “In the first 20 minutes, we played very well. We had the control of the game, but after that, we had injuries to important players. It was difficult for us. It’s not an excuse. At the end, we played 11 against 11, but when you lose two or three of your main players in the first XI, it is difficult to win. You are playing with 40% of your team.”

Continuing on a similar note, the 43-year-old praised the work of the youngsters in his team and said, “I am proud of the work of the players because, I think, the players that came in played very well. We played with a lot of young players. I think that they competed well. I am proud of their work. They need to be happy with the work they did. When you win, you need to be a good winner. But when you lose, you need to accept it gracefully.”

“I think that in the way that we lost, for me, we played well under the circumstances. For me to see a player like (Seiminmang) Manchong, who is very young, playing one against one, crossed a couple of good balls in the second half, for me this is a win. He is not scared. I think that the team grew today. We lost but we grew. That’s what I told the players,” voiced the Odisha boss.

Lastly, Gombau concluded by revealing that his team’s approach to matches and the league, as a whole, wasn’t going to be affected because of the loss to Bengaluru. “We approach the league in the same way every single week. We go game by game. We are a team who have a mentality. It is not like if we lost today, we cannot win in the coming games. Now what I want is to recover players. Every game is different. In the last seven games, we won five and lost two. If you see in this way, it is positive. I am so proud of my players because they played and are not scared. They are trying to play the football we want to play. We tried to play out from the back,” he said.

Read the Match Report here.

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