FC Goa have undoubtedly been the best side in the ISL so far, sitting atop the table with four wins in the last five games. In an interview with Sportscafe, coach Sergio Lobera talks about the competitiveness of the league, how he superimposed the tiki-taka philosophy on the side and many more.
You have made a great start to the season offensively, but your team looks suspect defensively, does that worry you?
We have conceded a few goals. Yes, but we are also a team that
After the first few weeks, your team looks like one of the
favourites to qualify for the playoffs, does that add any more pressure on your team?
There is still a lot of work to be done by us. We have done well so far but we have to put it in the past and look towards the next game. We can't lose focus and start thinking about the future. We have to take it one game at a time and that will allow us to keep any pressure we may have on us at bay.
You managed to beat both Chennai and Bengaluru and in both the games you looked like the better team. But against a physically dominant Mumbai side, you had 21 shots but just one goal. Do you see teams who are more defensive minded as more threatening than the ones who attack?
Well, this is a league where the teams are all equally balanced and we have a lot of matches where the games are decided by the small details. So we have to focus on executing our plans well. I thought we played well in Mumbai as well and didn't deserve to lose. If a few moments had gone our way, the scoreline could have been different. We enjoy against other teams who look to play the same style of football as well as it makes for an attractive game.
You haven’t been a part of the league for a long time but judging by what you have seen so far what are your impressions?
The league is obviously very well organized and I'm very surprised with the quality of the infrastructure we have in the league. I think it’s a very professional league with a good level of playing quality.
Who do you consider to be your biggest competition in the league?
A lot of the teams are evenly matched and this is a very tight league. It'll come down to who takes advantage of the chances they are presented with and the teams that are the most well prepared. Bengaluru have set an early trend of being the front runners so they are someone to definitely look out for.
There is also a huge difference in your performances on either side of half-time. What do you attribute that to?
Well, I think we have had a few halves where the other team has come from behind but that’s expected as they are the ones who have nothing to lose. This is something that we are aware of and we as a team need to learn to manage the game situation better.
Who in your current squad has impressed you the most?
I don’t like to talk about individuals in my team. We are a team who do everything together so it would be unfair to pick any particular person out for praise or criticism.
How easy or difficult has it been for you to apply your philosophy in Goa?
For me, it's been a smooth transition. We had a hard pre-season where the players worked really hard and applied themselves well. We also signed players who we think would fit well into the system and style of play we were looking for. The Indian players are keen to learn as well and I have always told them to have personality and believe in our playing style.
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