Odisha FC head coach Sergio Lobera is relishing the prospect of going up against Mohun Bagan Super Giant in the Indian Super League (ISL) as the league's top two teams clash at the Kalinga stadium in Bhubaneswar on Saturday.

Mohun Bagan SG, positioned second on the table with 29 points, will look to capitalise on recent victories and halt the Juggernaut's undefeated run. With nine wins and three losses in 14 matches, the Mariners aim to assert their dominance and climb to the top spot with a win on Saturday.

Under the guidance of newly appointed coach Antonio Habas, Mohun Bagan SG present a formidable challenge with a strengthened squad and a renewed competitive spirit. Odisha FC on the other hand, enter the fixture after a 15-day break, having last faced FC Goa in a 1-1 draw. The Kalinga Warriors sit atop the ISL table with 31 points from 15 games, boasting an impressive 11-match unbeaten streak in the ISL.

Head coach Sergio Lobera thus remains optimistic and believes in his squad's ability to secure victory.

"We've worked well before this break, and there's no reason to expect differently now," Lobera said at the pre-match press conference.

"Playing games like this is amazing. While Mohun Bagan, Mumbai City, and FC Goa may feel pressure to top the table, we're excited about our position. For us, finishing at the top or winning the playoffs would be a dream come true. The game is a big opportunity to show our readiness for big challenges," he added.

Lobera pointed out that Mohun Bagan SG has undergone significant changes since the return of Antonio Habas as their head coach and improvement is evident in their recent games.

"We're facing a different team and dwelling on past matches against Mohun Bagan SG would be a mistake. They're recovering players, have a strong squad, and are in good physical condition. Joni Kauko adds balance to their team. They're competitive and have depth on their bench. We must be ready for the challenge ahead," the head coach said.

The battle in midfield will be crucial, especially with Ahmed Jahouh absent for Odisha FC. Both teams will be competing fiercely for control and supremacy but the Spaniard believes the battle will be fought across the pitch.

"As a coach, Jahouh's absence presents challenges, but it's no excuse. Winning trophies is about team effort. While Jahouh is key, we have the squad depth to compete and win, with or without him," he said.

I'm proud of our team's defence: Amrinder Singh

Captain Amrinder Singh shed some light on the importance of adaptability and flexibility when playing against a side like Mohun Bagan SG, emphasizing the importance of being prepared for the unpredictable nature of the game and acknowledging the evolving style of Mohun Bagan SG under the guidance of their new coach.

“The game against Mohun Bagan SG will be different with their new coach and style. We must be prepared for all situations, especially playing at home. We're ready for the challenge," he said at the pre-match press conference.

As the press conference came to a close, Singh took a moment to reflect on his team's outstanding performance this season. With no less than seven clean sheets under their belt this season so far.

"I'm proud of our team's defence, contributing to seven clean sheets this season. It's a collective effort that reflects our commitment and performance," he said.