We need to find more balance and concede less goals: Odisha FC's Sergio Lobera
Sergio Lobera wants to secure all three points against NorthEast United FC and leapfrog them in the points table.
Odisha FC head coach Sergio Lobera is eagerly anticipating the challenge as his team gets ready to host NorthEast United FC in matchweek 6 of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Friday.
In their previous match against Bengaluru FC, the Juggernauts staged an impressive comeback after falling behind 0-2 within the first 20 minutes of the game. They managed to secure a 3-2 victory and claim all three points. Odisha now aims to maintain their winning form as they face the Highlanders.
The busy schedule appears to be taking a toll on the players, but Lobera is confident they are prepared to face the challenge.
"It's not easy to recover, especially when the players are playing two games in three days. But, as I've mentioned before, there are no excuses. We need to adapt to this situation. Complaining and searching for problems won't help us in this scenario. We have a busy schedule with a lot of games in a short time, but as a coach, I have (got) a very talented squad with excellent players," Lobera stated in the pre-match press conference.
"We need to recover as quickly as possible to play tomorrow in the best possible conditions. I'm excited because when you work with professionals like I have in the squad, we are always ready for the challenge. Let's see what happens tomorrow, but it's a very important game for us, and getting three points at home is crucial," he added.
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NorthEast United FC are sitting just above Odisha FC in the points table and has had a strong start to their campaign under the new head coach.
The Spaniard believes his team is prepared to face the challenge of playing against NorthEast United FC, even though they are currently in top form as a team. Lobera stated,
"They are playing very well and doing a great job. They are in a good mood and are coming off a win in the last minute of their previous game. They are in a very good moment, but we are also ready and excited about the match, to play against them. I think this is a great opportunity to earn points and position ourselves ahead of them in the table. It's going to be a good game."
However, the Spaniard expressed concerns about his team's defensive performance. The Juggernauts have conceded nine goals in five matches, averaging almost two goals per game. Addressing the vulnerability of the defensive line, the 46-year-old believes his team can do better in their own half.
"The balance between attack and defence is important. We're scoring a lot of goals, but we're also conceding a lot. While I want us to play attacking football, we need to take better care and aim to find more balance when we lose possession because we're conceding goals," he commented.
Winger Aniket Jadhav joined Lobera at the pre-match press conference. He shared his insights about his experience playing under Lobera's guidance.
“It’s a very big opportunity for me and I'm trying to learn everything I possibly can from the coach. As you know, the coach has a vast level of experience, having won several trophies and guided several big names. So, I'm learning a lot from him, including his strategies,” he stated.
The 23-year-old concluded by expressing gratitude for the support the team has received from their fans, especially in the previous game against Bengaluru FC. He urged fans to come in large numbers and continue supporting the team.
“Until now, what I have noticed is that in the last match, we had the best crowd. So, we are expecting such a crowd to come for all our matches and keep supporting us,” Jadhav commented.