We think we are capable of beating anyone: FC Goa head coach Carlos Pena

FC Goa head coach Carlos Pena reiterated his belief in the team and said that they have a strong mentality that has led to a positive start to the season. The Gaurs have scored two victories in their first two fixtures of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-2023 season and the team is in a perfect mindset to take on defending champions Hyderabad FC at the GMC Balayogi stadium in Hyderabad on Saturday.

The Gaurs beat East Bengal FC and Chennaiyin FC in their first two matches and are now looking for a third straight win on the road to maintain their perfect start to the season.

Pena was accompanied by the Morrocan attacker, Noah Sadaoui in the official pre-match conference ahead of FC Goa’s away match against Hyderabad FC. The FC Goa Head Coach spoke about his team’s mentality, positive mindset, and a fresh new start to their Hero ISL campaign.

Here are the excerpts from Carlos Pena’s press conference:

Six points from the first two matches with a great start. Are you happy with the way the team has been performing? The team looked on the backfoot against Chennayin FC, so are you happy with the way the team has been performing?

Pena: I'm pretty happy with the six points we have right now, it's always difficult to get the victories but of course, we need to improve some things, but not a lot. We're starting the season with a new coach, and many new players, we're building our own idea. Of course, we need to improve some things, not a lot but winning is easier with the positive mindset of the players. I'm happy with the two victories.

Do you think Hyderabad FC will provide you the toughest challenge, as you played them in the pre-season and lost to them 3-1 despite them having a red card towards the end of the game? So, what are your thoughts about Hyderabad FC, do you think they are amongst the strongest teams and they'll provide you with the toughest challenge?

Pena: I don’t know if it will be the toughest as the last two games were pretty tough as well. It depends on what things happen during the game. I'm sure right now that it's going to be a tough game for both teams. They are an experienced team, they've been playing together for two years, and this is their third year playing together with the same coach and experienced players. When I see Hyderabad FC, I see a solid and compact team. But we're going there to beat them and we'll try to take advantage of our strengths and we'll try to take the three points again.

FC Goa has earned two wins in two matches and are the only one to have a 100% win rate in the Hero ISL till now. How important is the start for you as a new head coach? Is this the dream start that the team needed keeping in mind the previous season didn't go well for the club?

Pena: It is very important. We need it mostly for the players that were here last season as the last season was not good. They didn't get too many victories and the victories people expect from the players of FC Goa. I think it's good that they realize that they are good players and with a good mentality and hard work, we are telling the team that they can beat anyone. So, I think these two victories must give us more strength to us and to think that we can beat anyone.

After Alvaro Vazquez was sidelined before the last match you decided to start with Sadaoui and he did brilliantly. How difficult is it going to become in the coming days to select the lineup with foreigners, especially in the attacking third?

Pena: I'm very happy with the six foreign players I have. I think till now they are helping a lot.

I have many options to select depending on the game to play, depending on their level of fitness so, if they keep the same way as they are helping the team right now, there are going to be chances for everyone. Honestly, I feel that all of them are ready to help the team at any moment.

FC Goa and Hyderabad FC have a similar style of play as both teams like to build up from the back. What type of game are you expecting against them?

Pena: I expect as I said before, a very tough game. I expect a game which will be decided by details. With Hyderabad FC, you can't commit too many mistakes and you have to be very good in the final third to beat them because they are a solid team and they take advantage of any chance they have to punish you. We are going to use our strengths to get three points and to offer a good game for sure.

Here are the excerpts from Noah Sadaoui’s press conference:

What goes through your mind whenever you get a chance to score? Like in the last match you missed a few chances but eventually scored a nice goal. So, what goes through your mind when you miss chances? Does it bother you? How do you handle it?

Sadaoui: It's a part of the game, you've to keep trying but sometimes you try your best and it's not coming but I stay persistent and I'm always happy to score.

Can you describe your experience in the Hero ISL so far? This is your first time playing in India - what has been the experience, especially winning the player of the match award in the last match?

Sadaoui: Yeah, it has been great since I've been here, obviously because we've been winning so it makes the experience much better, which I'm really enjoying so far.

Even though football is a team sport, it can be said that you single-handedly ran the show against Chennayin FC. How much do you look forward to building on this win?

Sadaoui: I don't think there's anyone who can win games single-handedly because throughout the game, I received good passes into space and it was good how I connected with the team. Yes, it was an important win and I think we can really build on both the wins that we had coming into Saturday’s game.

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