Wanted to put things right after the last game: FC Goa head coach Carlos Pena

FC Goa head coach Carlos Pena was delighted with the team's response after their defeat to Kerala Blasters as the Gaurs put three past against ATK Mohun Bagan in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Goa, on Sunday. Second-half goals by Aibanbha Dohling, Fares Arnaout, and Noah Sadaoui helped FC Goa ease past the Mariners. With this win, the Gaurs jump to the third spot in the Hero ISL table.

Pena expressed how the team was in pain after the last match’s defeat and wanted to show the fans that the players are working hard. Pena added how playing at home makes the team feel stronger and more confident with the fans backing the team with passion.

Here are the excerpts from Pena’s press conference:

The next match is against Bengaluru FC, same at home. What is your plan for the match?

We are happy to play at home and we know that it's a very important game for us. After winning today, we have to be humble. It was a great performance. We can enjoy a little bit today, but from Monday, we have to start thinking about Bengaluru FC and how to get three points. For today, it's time to enjoy, celebrate and go home happy.

Aibanbha (Dohling) played the first few matches as a left-back and last year he moved to center-back and he scores world-class goals. What are your views about him?

He’s learning a lot with me (laughs). I’m very happy with Aibanbha. He is a player with a lot of commitment, when we need him as a center-back he tried to do his best, when he tried him as a left-back he tries to do his best as well so that’s why he is playing all the games. I’m very happy for him for scoring the goal. He scored the goal that’s unusual but he did his job defensively greatly.

Ayush Chhetri hasn’t been scoring goals but he’s been really effective in the midfield. You have trusted him, he has played every match be it as a starter or as a substitute. Why do you put such great trust in him and what makes him special?

Ayush is a guy who deserves to play and he showed a great personality from the first day. He got his opportunity and he has taken advantage of it and I think he’s growing day by day. I once said that I won’t look at the age of the player, if he deserves to play, he’ll play,  but of course, he (Chhetri) needs to keep on working, he has many things to improve yet but I’m very happy for him.

Back-to-back 3-0 wins at home to start the campaign. How big of a deal is the home crowd for FC Goa?

Fans are very important. At home we feel confident, and we know that here we are stronger with the support of the fans. Today was not an easy day for us because today we came from a tough loss from Kerala. We did not show our best version, and did not show what we wanted to show. Today, the team showed great character, and the guys put up a very consistent performance, I’m very happy. Today, it’s time to celebrate and from Monday, we start thinking about the next game.

Wins have been followed by a couple of losses. What’s the next step for the team?

The next step is the next game. That’s the only goal we have. Today was a great step but we have to be humble. I think the game began with us in the seventh position, and now we are in the third position so it’s important to keep calm because last week, we were not so bad as we showed in Kerala. Today we are not going to become the champions, so it’s time to build little by little, with a strong structure, a strong foundation. I’m very happy for the guys, they deserve it and from tomorrow, we keep on working.

Today it felt like you were playing with two forwards, Iker (Guarrotxena) and Alvaro (Vazquez). How important is flexibility as you face different teams and different styles of play?

We have a clear idea. We want to play always in the same way but we have different players who give us different profiles. Today, I picked Iker and Alvaro, they did a great job. They gave us continuity and created a lot of chances, they pressed really well and after that, I used Noah (Sadaoui), he gave us a different profile and took the advantage of the minutes he received. I want all the players to help the team and have good performances.

In the pre-match conference, you mentioned the team need more motivation than the three points today and it was visible in the match as the team was energized from the first minute. Brandon (Fernandes) putting in some slide tackles, putting the blocks and that came from the captain, how important was it to see that performance from the captain and the team’s intensity today?

Of course, in the big game we were facing the pain we felt from the loss against Kerala Blasters FC, we analysed the performance against Kerala Blasters FC and we were not happy, we played with this pain and the guys showed energy, good character and they had a great performance.  

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