Young players are knocking the door to go inside the team: Odisha FC’s Kiko Ramirez

Odisha FC started strongly in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 with two back-to-back wins. They received a setback in their third match against Kerala Blasters FC when they lost 2-1.

Odisha FC’s head coach Kiko Ramirez expressed the needs to remain focuss on the future matches and leave the lost matches behind. Giving opportunities to the youngsters is the central part of his plan alongside Assistant Coach and Head of Football Development Kino Garcia.

Here are the excerpts from the press conference:

Three games and six points, what is your assessment so far and what is your target in the games that follow?

Ramirez: It is true that we won two matches but we lost the third. So, at this moment as coach, instead of thinking about the last match, we are focusing on improving the mistakes of the last match.

Isaac Chhakchhuak started in the previous game and he's one of the players who is featuring under you more. What led to that decision from you to give him his debut, as he was someone who didn't play a lot last year?

Ramirez: We're very happy with our players, not only Isaac. All the players are training and performing well. It's because of that we use him on the matches and Nikhil (Raj) the other day goes into the match, his debut in Hero ISL and scores a goal but not only them all of the young players are performing well and they are knocking the door to go inside the team.

Odisha FC is seen as a team that promotes a lot of young talent and like you spoke about Nikhil who scored a goal in his debut match. So, as coach, is it your philosophy for young players to feel that you know regardless of what their age is they can compete and they have an opportunity to play if they are doing good enough in training?

Ramirez: That of course we have to think that depending on whether they have been performing and training well, of course they have a chance to play and so as a coach, I’ve trained the Under-18 and 19, B team of other squads. I’m happy to give opportunities to the young players and we think that more such young players from the team will be participating in the next matches.

NorthEast United FC are coming back from a win. They are a physical side. What's your assessment of them?

Garcia: They are a strong team.They are powerful physically and in transitions, they defend in a compact way and after they win the ball back ,they can put us in trouble.

But all the stuff, we have prepared for that situation and we know it's going to be a tough game and also they have good players. Coach Kiko (Ramirez) has coached Khassa Camara before, so he knows him pretty well. We are well prepared for the match.

What would your main focus be for tomorrow in terms of your mindset? How are you looking to bounce back from the last game?

Garcia: For us, we were working on that the whole week. When we were winning, we were calm  and when we lost that last match, we were calm. Because we are working in a straight way and we are focusing on the long term project that we have in Odisha FC.

So we know that it's part of football, winning or losing. We could win the other day, we had chances to win but we couldn't, we couldn't make it and the other team played well. We're also gonna make a good game and it's part of the sport but for all the staff, we are working in the same way, we think that players are okay. We understand that this is part of this sport.

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