Sergio Lobera ready for challenge against ‘best team’ Bengaluru

After a comfortable victory over Chennaiyin FC, FC Goa take on reigning champions Bengaluru FC in their second match of the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 season at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium on Monday.

Speaking at the pre match press conference, Goa head coach Sergio Lobera was positive about the challenge ahead, “The Chennaiyin game is the past and we need to look forward to the next match against Bengaluru FC. Last season, Bengaluru were very good, but we finished with the same number of points on the table. For us, it’s a big challenge playing Bengaluru FC. Because, I think probably Bengaluru are the best team in the league.”

Against Chennaiyin, Goa took the field without three of their key players - Ahmed Jahouh (suspended), Edu Bedia and Hugo Boumous (injured). Asked about the current status of the side, the Spaniard revealed, “I need a couple more sessions to assess. I am very optimistic that I will have the full squad.”

The last time the two sides met was in the Hero ISL 2018-19 final – a match Bengaluru eventually won deep into extra time. Looking back, Lobera stated, “I am very proud of my players for the way they performed in the final. I hope in the next match, the performance of my team is similar. I think it was the set piece that lost us the final. If it’s possible to improve then we must. But I am very happy with the performance of my players in the last final.”

Lobera fielded eight Indian players against Chennaiyin and when asked if he would be open to doing it again against Bengaluru, the Spaniard opined, “In the last match, we showed that our team is a very good one. To play with eight Indian players means a lot. The performance of our Indian players was very good. The foreign players help improve the level of the team and their Indian teammates and the Hero ISL is improving as well as a result."

With the potential return of Jahouh, Edu and Boumous, Lobera will have a decision on his hands while choosing his starting XI against Bengaluru and in the near future. Speaking of the possible dilemma, Lobera remarked, “These are decisions I need to make as a coach. Every match is different; Chennaiyin have a different style of play than Bengaluru. I need to change the positions of some players from the last match. Manvir’s performance in the last match was very good. So, I need to see whether he plays with Ferran Corominas or someone else in the team,” the head coach said.

Manvir, who accompanied Lobera to the briefing, spoke about what it was like to play with the likes of Corominas – the Hero ISL’s all-time highest goal scorer. “Everyone in the league knows that Coro is the best player in the Hero ISL. He is the top scorer. It is tough to match up to Coro. I will give my 100% in every match to get that close.”

Your Comments