Odisha FC head coach Kino Garcia revealed that players who have worked hard throughout the season will get an opportunity to perform ahead of their clash against ATK Mohun Bagan in match 100 of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 at Tilak Maidan Stadium, Vasco da Gama on Thursday.

Odisha FC rank seventh in the points table with 22 points in 18 matches. They have only won one out of their last seven matches. OFC are four points behind sixth placed Bengaluru FC and are out of contention for a place in the semi-finals.

Odisha FC lost 2-1 against Bengaluru FC in their last match. A strike from Nandhakumar Sekar gave them an early lead but two goals from BFC towards the end of the first half saw them drop all three points. They had more shots at goal and on target than BFC.

Ahead of Odisha FC’s match against ATK Mohun Bagan, coach Garcia and defender Nikhil Prabhu addressed the media during the official pre-match press conference.

Here are the excerpts from Garcia’s press conference.

Now that the chances of qualifying for the semi-finals are over. How do you motivate your players?

Garcia: I think playing against one of the best teams in ISL has to be a big motivation for the players. We drew the first leg, so we have high motivation to try and take three points. The boys are professional players, they are motivated to beat our rival.

Odisha FC have conceded the most number of goals from the set-pieces, how would you rectify this in the remaining matches?

Garcia: You have to see the whole season. It’s true at the beginning of the season we conceded a lot. After that for seven to eight matches, I think, we conceded only three goals from set-pieces. Of course we want to improve but it’s not a big number. Also one of the goals is penalty kick and one is a free-kick so my main concern is corner kicks and indirect freekicks. We are working. The other day we watched the goal, we know what happened, and we correct it.

Will you give game time to the young players in the last two games?

Garcia: Yes of course we want all the players to have some minutes. But we want to win the games. The players who will play these matches are because they deserve it. They worked hard during the season. So the players who deserve it will play.

Here are the excerpts from Nikhil’s press conference.

How has your experience been working under Kino?

I am grateful to have a coach like Kino who helps me improve everyday. He is trying to bring out the best in me. He pushes me everyday. He teaches me something new that I have to implement in the game.

How do you see yourself in the last two matches of Odisha FC?

I am working hard on the field and looking forward to some more game time to prove myself. I am on my toes to grab the opportunity and perform well.