Lobera hails teamwork, Gregory sees loss as learning curve

FC Goa produced an impressive display to beat Chennaiyin FC 3-0 in their first Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 match at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa on Wednesday. The Gaurs dominated major periods of the tie, with new signing Seiminlen Doungel, Ferran Corominas and Carlos Pena getting their names on the scoresheet.

The winning team's head coach, Sergio Lobera, started the post-match press conference by explaining why Hugo Boumous and Edu Bedia were left out of the squad for the match. "These players were injured and not at 100 per cent. So, it was not possible for them to play today. We have four matches in two weeks and it was necessary to reduce the risk. I hope I can use them in the next match at home against Bengaluru.”

Speaking about the team’s stellar performance on the night despite missing multiple key players, Lobera declared, “Today’s changes were compulsory. I am very proud of my players. The performance today shows the quality of the squad. Before the match, it was a challenge to prove that this lot is a very competitive team that rises above individuals and I am very happy with the result.”

Striker Manvir Singh was given an opportunity to start against Chennaiyin and the youngster put in quite a shift. Assessing the player’s performance, Lobera remarked, “Manvir played very well. Whenever he gets the opportunity, he shows me he can play well, not just today. He has just one problem – the competition for his position in the team is very high. We have Corominas in the same position. Today we tried both of them together and it worked well. The most important thing is the team. If the team works well, individuals work better too.”

From the Chennaiyin camp, head coach John Gregory illustrated his takeaways from the match. “To be fair, I thought we dealt with Goa well in the first-half. Carlos Pena and Mourtada Fall had a lot of possession, but mostly in their own half. They didn’t really hurt us with the ball. Obviously, Corominas was playing a different role tonight. That’s not his normal position. He didn’t get in the game that much. But you know that if you give him the opportunities, he will take them. He is crucial to their team. Obviously, Sergio had to move his team around a little bit tonight. But the people who came in justified their selection.”

The Englishman further added, “It’s not always easy when you put a new team together. Sergio doesn’t have to do that. They have a really settled side. I’m still getting used to my players. It’s not always easy to get the right balance. I learnt a few more things about my new signings tonight and we look forward to playing Mumbai in the next match.”

Read the Match Report here.

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