Lobera stresses importance of a win over ‘direct rivals’ Jamshedpur

FC Goa and Jamshedpur FC will clash at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa on Monday in a pivotal encounter, which could have a significant bearing on the race for the top four. The Gaurs, currently fourth in the table, had a scintillating first-half of the campaign, scoring 27 goals in their 11 matches so far. Jamshedpur are currently in the fifth spot, just one point behind the Gaurs.

Speaking at the pre-match press conference a day prior to the match, Goa head coach Sergio Lobera revealed that he is hoping that the team can carry forward their momentum from the first half of the season. "In the break, we have tried to work and get ready for the next match in the best way possible. I hope it doesn’t take long (to get going after the winter break). We’ve been working hard in the break," stated Lobera.

In the reverse fixture earlier in the season, Jamshedpur dismantled the Gaurs 4-1 at the JRD Tata Sports Complex in Jamshedpur. Reminiscing over the result, Lobera said, "By the result of that game, you can tell the potential of Jamshedpur. It’s a very good team. And if you’re not at your 100% it's very difficult to beat them. Also taking into account that they are a great rival in the race for a playoff spot, we have to look for three points for our own benefit. It’s a match against a direct rival and so it will be a crucial three points."

Lobera rebuffed any suggestions that the Jamshedpur tie may be a make-or-break match for his side, but stressed the importance of a positive result. "There is still a long way to go but it will be a huge step forward because that will mean that if we get three points, we will be four points ahead of Jamshedpur with one game in hand," he opined.

The 42-year-old also spoke about new signing Zaid Krouch, who joined the Gaurs in the January transfer window. “About Zaid Krouch, he has adapted very quickly thanks to his teammates. He fits perfectly in the squad. I have coached Zaid back in Morocco and he fits in perfectly with the system," he said.

Read the match preview here.

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