Odisha FC head coach Josep Gombau called for his team to make better decisions and omit mistakes in the upcoming Hero Indian Super League (ISL) clash against ATK Mohun Bagan at the Vivekananda Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Saturday.

Odisha FC return to action after a 14-day break following a 3-1 defeat to Bengaluru FC away from home. The Juggernauts will be desperate to return to winning ways as they look to boost their playoffs chances with six games left.

A win over ATK Mohun Bagan could see Odisha FC topple the Mariners and take the fifth spot in the Hero ISL standings. Gombau stated if his team does what they need to do on the pitch, the contest could be even.

“We need to keep things simple and avoid mistakes. We need to take our chances, which is very important. Creating chances in away games is not that easy and when we have our chances or put a cross into the box we need to take care of the (accuracy of the) cross, the last pass, take good decisions and not lose easy balls. If we do this, the game will be very equal and for them, it’s a very important game. There’s just a two-point difference between both teams and if we beat them, then we will go ahead of them,” Gombau said in the pre-match press conference.

Odisha FC have managed to win just one of their previous six games, which has seen them drop down to the sixth spot. With games coming thick and fast for Odisha FC, Gombau revealed he will make rotations to the team and focus on one game at a time.

“We had this long gap after our game against Bengaluru FC. Now it’s the moment to concentrate on the last six games that we have. These are the most important games of the season. We will try to finish the games in a good position and try to reach as high on the table. This is the only aim of the team and we are working very hard to finish these last six games in a good way, starting from Kolkata,” Gombau said.

“We have the next four games in 14 days which is a game every three days. It will be a tough time, but the good thing is that we have everyone available. We have that hunger and if we want to be successful, we have to use all these players in this short period. This is the mentality that we have. We need to make a lot of rotations and have the players fresh for these games. Now is the moment to speak about ATK Mohun Bagan and work on that game,” he added.

‘Every game is a final’

Gombau was accompanied by Osama Malik in the pre-match press conference, who has played in both midfield and defence for Odisha FC this season. Into his first season in India, the Australian was impressed with the quality of the Hero ISL.

“I've been impressed (with the Hero ISL). The intensity of the games has been good and the quality of the players too. I’ve watched some games during the Covid bubble two-three years ago and the league is really progressing. I’ve been really impressed with the quality of the Indian players so far,” Malik stated.

With the Hero ISL playoff race heating up, Malik said the Kalinga Warriors were treating each game as a final. The 32-year-old highlighted the importance of playing to the best of their abilities.

“At the moment, it’s very close (the playoff race). We have six games left and its six finals for us. We are playing against the teams that are up the ladder, so it starts this Saturday against ATK Mohun Bagan. Every game is a final. We need to make sure we don’t slip and play our best football during these six games,” Malik concluded.