Lobera: Crucial that we got three points ahead of ATK clash

FC Goa climbed back into the top four of the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 table after a 1-0 win over Hyderabad FC at the G.M.C. Balayogi Athletic Stadium on Sunday. Manvir Singh came off the bench to score the winner in the 68th minute.

Speaking at the post-match press conference, a delighted Goa head coach, Sergio Lobera expressed his appreciation for his players. He said, “I am lucky because I have amazing players. Very good professional players, and I think we are a team that not only plays well, but also works hard.”

He added, “It was a game where it was necessary to work to win. I am proud about the work of my players. It is very important for us to get three points because it was a crucial match, as if we won today and against ATK at home (in the upcoming match), it is possible to go top of the table.”

Speaking about Chinglensana Singh, who came in for the suspended Mourtada Fall and justified his selection with a Hero of the Match performance, Lobera stated, “The situation wasn’t easy for us today. We missed some very important players. But I am very happy for Sana, the Hero of the Match; one player who didn’t have too much opportunities to play because like other coaches in the Hero ISL, I used foreign players in this position. But we showed everybody it is very important to work very hard when you don’t have opportunities and be ready when the team needs you. I am very happy. He deserves this award.”

The Spaniard, though, was critical of the amount of chances his team squandered but was happy with the clean sheet. “I think we need to improve in terms of chances converted. We have very good chances to finish the match before the 90 minutes. I think it is very important for us but I am happy to get a clean sheet. It is very good for us.”

Lobera also had some warm words for his goalkeeper Mohammad Nawaz, who has become an integral part of the team’s philosophy of playing out from the back. “I think he is always at a very high level. He has personality. He plays like a 30-year-old goalkeeper. I am very happy because he understands our philosophy. It is not easy for a goalkeeper to play in this way, to try and always start from the back,” he said.

Finally, the 42-year-old maintained that the level of competition in the Hero ISL had grown substantially this season. “I think in this moment if we analyse the first seven matches in all circumstances, it has been a very difficult for us. I am very happy to be in this position. ATK are a very good team, Bengaluru (FC) is a very good team, NorthEast (United) is a very good team. Maybe this year is the best competition because the competitiveness is very high. Today we suffered a lot to get the win, and in the next match against ATK, we need to be loyal to our philosophy,” he said.

Read the Match Report here.

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