Will stick to the club’s philosophy of playing attacking football: FC Goa’s Derrick Pereira

FC Goa’s new head coach Derrick Pereira believes that his team has massively improved in their recent games and the players will be in their best shape on Wednesday, as his side takes on ATK Mohun Bagan in match 44 of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 season at the PJN Stadium in Fatorda, Goa.

Pereira will face FC Goa’s former coach Juan Ferrando who has taken charge at ATK Mohun Bagan following coach Antonio Lopez Habas’ departure. Pereira, who actively worked with Ferrando during his time at FC Goa, is vary of the latter’s knowledge and experience with the club and is prepared with a gameplan to beat his predecessor. 

Ahead of his battle against ATK Mohun Bagan, Pereira addressed the media during a pre-match press conference.

Here are the excerpts from Pereira’s press conference:

What are your takeaways from the last game? And were the players up to the mark as you expected?

I didn't want to make any changes because the team in the last three matches have been doing well. There are limitations, a lot of injuries. We had a very good first half, we controlled the game in the second half but lost our shape after conceding the goal. We are going to stick to the FC Goa philosophy of playing good attacking football.

You face ATK Mohun Bagan and Ferrando’s on their side who knows the strengths and weaknesses of FC Goa. Does this kind of add pressure to you and your team?

Definitely. He knows the players in and out, he’s been working with them for the last 1.5 or 2 years and we know what he’s going to bring to the table from the ATK Mohun Bagan side. We have a plan in place to counter the same. Our players are determined, focused, and motivated to play and get good results.

In which departments do you think FC Goa can improve?

We have improved in overall terms. When we are in attack, we have to improve on the balance and focus on the transition into the defence. So, I think that’s an area we need to focus on.

You brought in Nongdamba Naorem in place of Airam Cabrera in the last match. How impressed were you with his performances and what do you think of him?

He performed well in the first half, and in the second half also he gave his best. The players have a winning mentality in them, and they want to go out there, perform and get results. But we need to control ourselves, our pace, our intensity, and you know, go in a way to see how we can get reserved. So, on those lines we lost the shape of the team a bit and then confused some of our youngsters.

Excluding the Juan Ferrando factor, what do you think of the ATK Mohun Bagan team?

Everybody knows they have a strong team. They have some big names in their squad. I think on a given day, anybody can beat any team, and I’m sure if we focus for 90 minutes on our job, on our plane, we should do well. We have to give 100% in tomorrow’s match to get the results.

FC Goa has been conceding more goals than last season. After taking over as head coach, the team has been fluid in transitional plays. How well do you think the team can improve in the coming matches?

We’ll definitely improve in all aspects of the game. We have the players; I think it’s a process because the team is improving match by match. There are areas to be improved and I’m sure as we get into the next round, we should improve as a team.       

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