Lobera promises more attacking football, Singto plans to target Gaurs' leaky defence

The final Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2018-19 match before the second international break of the season will see table-toppers FC Goa travel to the home of Kerala Blasters FC looking to consolidate their position at the summit of the table. The Blasters, however, will be looking to get their own season up and running after having won just a single match so far this campaign.

Goa head coach Sergio Lobera was present for the pre-match press conference ahead of what will be the team's second game in the space of four days. He was asked whether the team was overly reliant on Golden Boot frontrunner Ferran Corominas, who has been involved directly with ten of Goa's 18 goals so far. The Spaniard dismissed the idea outright and said, "Coro is obviously a very important player for us. But I also think we’re not entirely reliant on Coro. We won the last game 3-2 and Coro didn’t score. In the list of top goal scorers of the league, there are other players from our team apart from Coro. And keeping in mind that Coro is an important player, it is the team behind him that needs to help him score the goals he’s scoring."

Lobera also suggested that he was not concerned with the prospect of Kerala trying to exploit the Gaurs' leaky defence, which has seen them concede 11 goals in six matches. "You know, football is all about the balance between attack and defence and that’s always something we’re trying to improve at. But our style of play is that we play a very attacking style of football, which means we have to take some obvious risks while playing out from the back. But that is what makes us strong. So, we wouldn’t be changing that."

Asked if playing two games in a space of four days, especially after the intense encounter against Delhi Dynamos FC, will take a toll on his team, Lobera said that he won't be making any excuses. "I don’t think we can be looking for excuses for what could have and couldn’t have been. We just have to make every effort to prepare the players as fast as possible. We need to make one last push and make that one last effort before we get the international break, which allows us to get some free time," he said.

Kerala assistant coach Thangboi Singto was available for the pre-match presser to represent the home team. When asked if his team was concerned about facing a Goa side which has scored a whopping 18 goals in just six matches, Singto said, "Well, with due respect to Goa, as much as we all know that they are an attacking team, but if you see it as a coach, then you see that they concede also. To be frank, we’re not really concerned about other teams. We have to look at ourselves. It is important that what we bring to the table in terms of performance. And yes, like everybody else, we as a team need to start winning.”

Singto also revealed that his team will go into the game without any injury concerns. "I think we have all the players fit now. In regards to our approach in the coming games, it doesn’t change much because every team puts up a team sheet with the belief that they want to win the games. Everyone’s available, so let’s see. The bench strength becomes much stronger like that. Well, the only thing that we hope for is to start winning here," he said.

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