Carlos Pena has marked a sensational return back to FC Goa after retiring as a player back in 2019. However, this time the Spaniard is the Head Coach of the Gaurs for the upcoming Hero Indian Super League (ISL) campaign.

The 44-year-old was the Head Coach at Albacete Balompie back in Spain and finished in the top spot in the Primera Division RFEF.

Pena sat down for an interview with the Times of India to talk about his return to FC Goa, his inspiration, what the fans can expect, and much more!

Here are some excerpts from the interview: 

Having retired as a player with FC Goa only two years ago, did you expect to return so soon?

One of the reasons I retired was to start a new path as a coach. It was very clear that I wanted to become a coach and worked towards it during the later stages of my playing career. I was learning, and obtaining my coaching licenses when I was still a player. Nobody can time things. I started coaching young players because you have to make a start somewhere and now my time with FC Goa has come. I am fully prepared. I have learned many things as a professional footballer. Of course, if I arrived here as a coach in 10 more years, I would be more experienced, but for sure I am ready now and will do my best. 

At FC Goa, you will meet many players who were your teammates. How do you convince them that you are now the coach?

We have to build a new relationship. We have fought together as teammates and now we will fight again. I am in a new role as coach, and they are in the same role as players. That should not be a problem. In fact, I have an advantage since I know them. I know their potential, what they are capable of, and how they react inside the dressing room. My goal is to make the players better.

What are your observations about Goa since you left?

I think the first season was a good season, qualifying for the semis and being eliminated by Mumbai City FC only on penalties. They were very close to fighting for the title with a new coach, and new players. After that, Goa did very well in the AFC Champions League. This season, the influence of coach Juan Ferrando leaving was tough. It’s not easy when you are in the bio-bubble and the coach leaves. The new coach has little time to adapt. There were injuries too. But all this is what I observed from the outside.

What can fans expect from you as coach at FC Goa?

As a player, I enjoyed having the ball, trying to attack, keeping possession, and being part of an offensive team. This is how I see and feel about football. I like teams that try to recover the ball fast and attack. This is how I’ve enjoyed football and this is the way I will make Goa play. I have no doubt that we will build a strong team, and work with the values of FC Goa which I am fully aware of. It’s time to look to the future.

From among the coaches that you have trained with in the past, who has had the biggest influence?

It won’t be fair if I take just one name. There have been great coaches like Louis van Gaal, Frank Rijkaard, and Rubi. I have had many coaches and I have learned many things from all of them.