FC Goa head coach Manolo Marquez wants his team to play to their full potential when they face Bengaluru FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Wednesday.

The Gaurs have displayed an impressive performance in the early stages of the season, securing nine points from their first three games, marking them as one of the two teams, along with Mohun Bagan Super Giant, to maintain a perfect record this season. FC Goa initiated their campaign with a 1-0 victory against Punjab FC and then rallied to clinch comeback wins against Odisha FC and East Bengal FC. Speaking at the pre-match press conference, Marquez acknowledged that his team can achieve even better results.

"It can be better in terms of results. In games there are a lot of mini games but now finally we are winning games. I don't know why but the team plays better when we are losing. Seems that we are without pressure when we are losing. We need to show the football that we have. The last game was okay. After we scored both goals, the team controlled the game very well. We kept the ball and we even had two or three chances to kill the game, but it was ok," Marquez said.

FC Goa's victory against Odisha FC, sealed with an injury-time goal from Jay Gupta in a thrilling five-goal encounter, exemplified the team's resilience in overcoming challenging situations. Coach Marquez was pleased with his team's character, saying, "I think that in the dressing room at half time you can see how the team is. I think when we played against Odisha FC the team did not start very well, but in the last few minutes of the first half we were very attacking, we pressed very well and recovered the ball very fast and we arrived at the dressing room, as a coach I think you do not need to speak very much. The players were very convinced that they could turn it around," he explained.

Reflecting on the game against East Bengal FC, played in a neutral venue with a sparse crowd, Marquez acknowledged that the opposition adapted better in the first half but stated that FC Goa deserved the win based on their second-half performance. He added, “The other day was different because it is another kind of game. We played in a neutral venue without crowds and not too many people were in the stadium. They  know that with the players we had at the moment on the pitch, East Bengal FC adapted better than us in the first half. However, in terms of chances I think we deserved to win because we played really well in the second half," Marquez added. 

Notably, FC Goa has yet to secure a victory at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium. Matches between these two sides have consistently delivered entertainment, with plenty of goals and drama. This match will also feature FC Goa's Udanta Singh and Sandesh Jhingan facing their former club. Marquez believes that the game will present a unique challenge, as both teams have incorporated new players. 

"I think that every game is very tough. If you see how we won against Punjab FC, Odisha FC and East Bengal FC, I think that we will have chances to win. In this Matchweek (four) in the matches after us, all four teams had chances to win. It is a tough competition and Bengaluru FC will be another difficult opponent and we know that."

FC Goa are yet to win a game at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium. The matches between these two sides have always been entertaining, witnessing plenty of goals and drama. The game will also see FC Goa duo Udanta Singh and Sandesh Jhingan face their former club. Marquez believes Wednesday’s game will be a different challenge, with both teams having signed new players. 

"The statistics are nice to write about but I think the game will be completely different. The coach of Bengaluru FC has a lot of experience, they have good players. Two of them are with us this season, they have two of my former players in their squad, Hali (Halicharan Narzary) and (Rohit) Danu but Udanta and Sandesh are here. Every season is different but still they have a strong team." 

Joining Coach Marquez at the pre-match press conference was FC Goa striker Carlos Martinez. The Spaniard, who has already scored once and provided an assist in the three games this season, expressed his positive experience in India. 

"The experience is good till now. Goa is a good place to live. The people of Goa are friendly with me and they try to help me all the time. It is easier for me to adapt here. I made the decision to come here because I followed the league for a long time because I have a lot of friends that played here before. Manolo called me and I came to know how important Manolo is to Indian football and after talking with him and some players that are playing here now, I made the decision to come here and start a new challenge in my career," Martinez said in the pre-match press conference.

Speaking about the league's gradual improvement and challenging fixtures, Martinez acknowledged the league's growth, with better coaches and foreign players joining each year, and Indian players showing continuous improvement.

"I think my teammates told me that every year the league has been improving. Better coaches are coming, better foreign players are coming and the Indian players are improving everyday so every year it is tough. I think it is a difficult league. Every game is tough. There are opportunities for both teams to win. It is good for us to get three wins in a row in the first games," he said.

"Now we are playing good games. It is difficult to win three games in a row in this difficult league. Most of our offensive players are scoring goals. We have to take advantage of the confidence of these goals and the wins we have now so we have to go to Bengaluru and try to win again."