Need at least seven points more to reach playoffs: Odisha FC’s Josep Gombau
Odisha FC head coach Josep Gombau is preparing his team to face four finals as they look to secure a playoff berth in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) for the first time in their history. They take on fellow playoff hopefuls FC Goa at Bhubaneswar on Monday.
The Spaniard believes it is time for his team to put their best foot forward and deliver the necessary result in a game which is virtually a six-pointer in the race for the playoffs as FC Goa are just three points above Odisha FC in the table.
“I think it's a very important game. There are just four games left in the season and we are playing at home against a team that is close to us on the table. They won their last two matches. So, for us, it's like a final. If we want to be in playoffs, it's important we get the result,” Gombau said during the pre-match press conference.
“FC Goa are doing very well. They have a good squad and play good football. Both teams will be under a lot of pressure to get the result. This is the kind of game that you need to get a result in if you want to progress. It will be an equal game. We have the right mentality for this game,” he added.
Reflecting back on his first season at the club in the second spell, Gombau feels his team are on track to achieve their objectives and feels are building a strong foundation for the future.
“When I came to the club, it was my first year in the project after a gap. I expected to fight for a place in the playoffs and this is what we are doing. I didn't expect to qualify with four games to spare,” he said.
Odisha FC have strengthened their squad with the signing of Princeton Rebello who joined from FC Goa and the Spaniard feels the midfielder fits Odisha FC’s philosophy perfectly.
“Princeton Rebello is a very important signing for us. He has a lot of quality. He is a player that we signed not just for now but also for the future. He fits our style very well,” the 46-year-old said.
Despite the stakes riding on the match, Gombau will stick to his preferred playing style and feels he wants to establish a culture at the club, something which their opponents on Monday, FC Goa, have achieved already.
“We have our own, particular way to play which is to press high and keep the ball. We want to build it as the culture of this club. We don't want to change that but depending on the opposition you change small details to try and damage them,” Gombau said.
Odisha FC are feeling the heat from Bengaluru FC who are hot on their heels and would need to win all their remaining matches to be assured of a place in the playoffs. But with the competitive nature of the Hero ISL, Gombau expects all teams to drop points in the race.
“We need at least seven points from these four games. It doesn't matter how you get these seven points. All the points have the same value. But it's a special game against FC Goa because we are playing against a team that is fighting to get into the playoffs,” he said.
Odisha FC striker Aniket Jadhav accompanied Gombau in the pre-match press conference and urged the fans to get behind the team.
“I think we are in a crucial situation. Our fans are our 12th man and we want them to support us. Our game against FC Goa is very important and the fans can play a big role. I hope they come and support us,” he said.
“We will take it one step at a time and try and collect as many points as possible. We will do what we can do best,” he added.