FC Goa head coach Manolo Marquez called for his team to focus on themselves when they go up against Odisha FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa on Saturday.

After a tense victory against Punjab FC, FC Goa are set to face an undefeated Odisha FC side led by head coach Sergio Lobera, who returns to Fatorda Stadium for the first time since his departure in 2019. Both FC Goa and Odisha FC have bolstered their squads in the summer transfer window and appointed new head coaches with prior ISL success.

Lobera, now at Odisha FC, has assembled a solid squad featuring several players who previously worked with him at FC Goa, including Mourtada Fall and Ahmed Jahouh. Marquez acknowledged Odisha FC's squad depth and familiarity with Lobera's tactics but highlighted that FC Goa should focus on their own strengths.

“In the ISL, every game is difficult. They have very good players and a good coach. They have signed good players. They have one small advantage is that most of the players (at Odisha FC) worked before with Sergio (Lobera). Mourtada Fall, (Ahmed) Jahouh, Amey (Ranawade), (Cy) Goddard, Princeton (Rebello) and many other players that were with him. They know what he (Lobera) wants,” Marquez said in the pre-match press conference.

“Another thing is that they have already played four official games (in ISL and AFC Cup), we have played only one official game. But we are playing against FC Goa at the moment, we are not playing against the opponents. We need to be focused on our team. We need to improve our team because we know the quality of the players we have. If we play in a good way, we can win tomorrow (Saturday) and a lot of other games,” he added.

Despite FC Goa's victory against Punjab FC, Marquez expressed disappointment with his team's performance, particularly their inability to score more goals and secure the match. He acknowledged that Odisha FC would also have their chances in the upcoming game but stressed the importance of his players controlling the game.

“It’s obvious the opponent will have chances during the game, but it's not the best thing for us to play as we did for the last 20-25 minutes (against Punjab FC where both teams were attacking),” he explained.

“This is heads or tails. We could score the second goal, but Punjab FC could have equalised and they had clear chances. We need to control the game more. Games without control, okay, we will win (them). But my feeling is that with the players that we have, we (can) control the games a little more and (with that) we will win more than we lose these kinds of games,” he further said.

In the pre-match press conference, midfielder Boris Singh, who made his ISL debut for FC Goa in their win against Punjab FC, shared his ambitions to improve his game and earn a spot in the Indian senior national team. He reflected on his career, citing progress and personal growth since his time at Jamshedpur FC and expressing his determination to reach the next level in his career.

“My career has been good so far. As professionals (players), we face ups and downs. We need to choose the right decisions and I think I have not made the right decision in some parts. But now, I have progressed (after playing) at my previous club (Jamshedpur FC), I have been much better as a player and I’m growing. Now, I am in a good club. I want to improve and try to be at the next level and try to be in the national team,” Singh stated.