Odisha FC head coach Josep Gombau urged his players to exploit their opponent's weaknesses as his side welcomes Mumbai City FC in matchweek 13 of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 at the Kalinga Stadium, in Bhubaneswar, on Monday.

In a contrasting set of scenarios, the Kalinga Warriors - who are unbeaten at home, having played five games, winning four and drawing one - face a stiff Mumbai City FC side who remain the only unbeaten team in the league, which again is an impressive feat going into the second half of the season.

Gombau's men have been lacking the final touch when it comes to finishing their goalscoring chances. Out of the top six teams in the league standings, his side have scored the least amount of goals (15) in the season so far. They do control the majority of the game, but they need to start firing up on the offensive front. The head coach asserted his opinion about working on that aspect of the team, which would help the team in many ways.

“We did not create enough chances against Kerala Blasters FC, we have worked on it this week and we have good players at the top who I hope start scoring more from Monday and for sure the results will come,” Gombau said in the official pre-match press conference.

“As (the) head coach of Odisha FC, we need to find a way to match Mumbai City FC and improve on our chances to get a result in this game. We are working, and everybody wants to continue with the good results we have at home. Our job is to try to win, and this is our mentality. I expect it to be an equal game, we will have our chances and moments against them,” the head coach stated 

Not many teams have been able to find the winning formula when it comes to defeating the Islanders this season, with only three teams coming close and managing to come back with a point. Gombau expressed that his team needs to prioritise in finding their opponents weaknesses while being mindful of their faults and errors that can cost them the game.

“We play with the same aim, to get all three points, and with all due respect to Mumbai City FC, they are a good team, but they do have weaknesses. We will look to do some damage to them while trying to avoid silly mistakes and being aware of what the opposition can bring to the game.”

Odisha FC welcomed the return of Shubham Sarangi to the bench in their previous game against Kerala Blasters FC. With his re-addition to the team, there will be increased competition for Gombau to choose for his playing XI. He also acknowledged that he was pleased to have that headache as he needs players to fight for the top six.

With the offset of the winter transfer window, Gombau is looking at the possibilities to add a player that can slot and fit in rightly, replacing the absentees in the team, and adhering with his set of requirements and standards.

“Everyone is working hard, the environment is very good, and it is true that we are missing players in one particular position (the wing). Now we need to find a player and try to bring him in as soon as possible, other than that, we are happy with the squad we have,” the Spaniard concluded.

Forward Diego Mauricio also accompanied the head coach in the pre-match press conference for the game against Mumbai City FC. The game on Monday is quite special for Mauricio as he will be up against his former side whom he represented last season.

Diego Mauricio has been ever present in the Odisha FC side. He has three goals and three assists in 11 games so far this season, and he will try to improve his returns to start the new year with a strong mindset.

“The game will be difficult as Mumbai City FC are a good team, but the focus remains on Odisha FC. The coach looks for us, and the mentality is good coming into this game,” he stated.

“We are playing at home, and that will be a boost for the game against Mumbai City FC,” he said.

The fans have played a huge part in the Juggernauts’ unbeaten run at the fortress, Kalinga Stadium, and everyone in the team including Diego Mauricio appreciate their unwavering support and want it to continue especially in the second phase of the league.

“The fans of Odisha FC are good, they back all the Indian and foreign players. I try to give my best in the game to the fans for the love and support they have shown in me and hopefully they continue doing so going into the next game and in the first game of the new year,” Mauricio concluded.