Our minimum target is to reach the knockout stage: Odisha FC head coach Josep Gombau

Odisha FC head coach Josep Gombau feels qualifying for the semi-finals should be their minimum target in the upcoming season of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) after returning to the club for a second spell at the helm.

The Juggernauts were a force in the Hero ISL under the Spaniard and he is keen on not just restoring their level but going one step better and taking Odisha FC to the knockout stages and has been extremely poistive about Odisha FC's chances since rejoining the club.

“The Indian Super League is growing and everyday it’s becoming more competitive. Our minimum target is to be in the playoffs. That’s our objective and I am confident that we can make it work. I know it's not easy. We did it last time, so why can't we do it now? We have more time to prepare and all of us are working hard,” Gombau told The Times of India in an interview.

During Hero ISL 2019–20 season, Gombau was in command of the Juggernauts, where he won over the fans with his attractive brand of play. 

The 46-years-old tactician knows what it takes to compete with the top teams in the Hero ISL and also has the experience of coaching a comparatively young side.

However, in the ongoing off-season transfer window, the head coach has brought in some experience players to the squad especially in the foreign contingent. As far as the Indian contingent in concerned, Gombau has already worked with some members and is familiar with their abilities. And few of those young players' have now grown in stature since he last left the club.

“I am happy with the team that we have, it has balance. We have a very young pool of (domestic) players. I feel comfortable working with youth because they have this hunger. It's amazing to work with them. We need some experience. At least one or two Indian players that are more experienced and are at an age where they can take responsibilities and other players can follow them,” said Gombau.

Read: Odisha FC sign midfielder Raynier Fernandes on loan from Mumbai City FC

Gombau has already started to rebuild the team as he imported six players this summer that includes Raynier Fernandes (Mumbai City), Michael Soosairaj (ATK Mohun Bagan) and Narender Gahlot (Jamshedpur) and their addition will fill the experience void in the team. While in the foreign department, so far, Carlos Delgado and Osama Malik have been signed.

“We are bringing in a new set of foreign players. Not for anything, it’s just the structure of the way we want to build this team. We want to bring in a number six who was not there last year. We don’t want any wingers since in Indian players we have good wingers. We need two strikers and a number 10.

“The composition of the team, the way we play, will be different, so we wanted new kind of players. Javi would have been a fit, but he has already signed (for Bengaluru FC). We are not retaining anyone (from last season). They did quite well, but this is a new project,” said the 46-years-old head coach.

Having failed to reach the semi-finals in either of the past three seasons, Gombau would be hoping to break that trend and kickstart a new era of success for Odisha FC.

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