Lobera urges players to be relentless against Kerala

FC Goa’s next venture in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2018-19 will see them welcome Kerala Blasters FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Monday. The Gaurs are within touching distance of securing a play-off spot and a win will be enough to seal their qualification into the semis. With the team unbeaten in their last five outings, Goa fans will be looking forward to another home victory.

At the pre-match press conference, Goa head coach Sergio Lobera stated that he wasn't taking the match lightly. "My feeling is that we are going to face a very good squad. I think they have great players and they look completely different with their new coach. I’m sure if we are not at our 100%, we cannot win the three points. Tomorrow if we get a victory, we will have one spot in the play-offs and depending on our performances, we can also finish at top of the table," he said.

Lobera also admitted that his team has improved gradually over the course of the season. "I think we have improved the defence. Also, I think it was important to improve in terms of performance of the team. I think during the season, every team go through different moments, but we have tried to keep a balance. The feeling I’m getting is positive because of the way we are achieving things," he stated.

A key feature of the Gaurs’ recent dominance has been their defence which hasn’t conceded a single goal in the last four matches. Commenting on what had changed in the 'once-leaky' backline, Lobera said, "I think it is true that we have improved in defence, but I don’t think it’s only because we are playing Carlos Pena and Mourtada Fall at the back. Last game it was a great example of our defending. Our defence didn’t start from the back but operated from higher up the pitch. We go in pursuit of the ball from the front. The team regardless of Pena and Fall have improved defensively."

The Spaniard concluded his pre-match briefing by stressing the importance of keeping his players motivated and said, "I think what we have to do is be focused on how to do things rather than on what we are going to achieve. I think if we keep thinking in our heads about how we will make it to the top of the table or second, at that time, we would be forgetting how we will achieve it. I think you don’t have to add pressure to the players. You have to keep them motivated."

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