Odisha FC head coach Stuart Baxter has asserted that they are trying to iron out a few things that have impacted them in the ongoing season of the Indian Super League. The 'Juggernauts' are yet to register their first win of the campaign, having lost four and shared the spoils on one occasion.
Odisha FC is all set to take on Bengaluru FC in their next game of the ongoing seventh edition of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the GMC Stadium, Bambolim tomorrow. Ahead of the game, Head Coach Stuart Baxter attended the pre-match press conference on Wednesday and spoke about various aspects of the game ahead of the crucial tie against the Carles Cuadrat-coached side.
“I think Bengaluru have done well. They started also with a few issues to iron out but they have been making progress. It will certainly be a very tough game. Every game at the moment for us is tough but if you look at the league in general, every team wins the game could possibly have lost the game. We have experienced in our games; the small things have big impact. I think that’s the characteristic of the Indian game. So we will be trying to iron out those small things that impacted big on us and hope in that way, we can be competitive,” the 67-year-old Coach stated.
“We need to do better, as a team, the things that win and lose games of football. Those small things in critical phases of the game that decide games, we need to do that better. We certainly need to be better at extending our attacks to make them longer based on being better in possession. If we can gain momentum there and take momentum away from the opponents, that will help us,” Coach Baxter further added.
When asked about the team failing to keep clean sheets in the tournament so far and his comments on the centre-backs, the OFC gaffer explained, “I don’t think conceding goals is a direct responsibility of the centre-backs. I don’t think the centre-backs’ performances have been substandard. I think, in some games, we have defended very well but it’s a contribution that we all must make to make sure that we get clean sheets.”
He also highlighted why the January transfer window will be full of danger by saying, “Identifying which players we need at this moment is probably not a good idea. The January market is going to be one full of danger. You have got quarantine, you have got to identify the player, he has got to acclimatize to the Indian game and new teammates. By the time, he has done that it may be the close of the season. So, we will think about it but at this time, we haven’t got any concrete plans.”
The former South Africa National Team Coach also asserted, “We are banking on all the players really. When you select them you give them the confidence and the belief that you think that they can do the job for the team. The 11 players they go on the field, will have my full support and the confidence of everybody.”
Odisha FC had a lot of loyal supporters thronging the Kalinga Stadium last season during their home games. Although the tournament is being held in closed doors in Goa, the Juggernauts and other fans of the Kalinga Warriors have been pouring their best wishes and backing the team to do well in the upcoming games this season.
As a message to the fans back in Odisha and all across the globe, the OFC Head Coach said, “I would like to say that the results have not gone our way but I don’t think that translates directly into a very bad performance. At some times, yes but not all the time. We have to make sure that we can turn that corner first. I hope the fans stick with us. I hope that we can give them more to be happy about. If we stick together that’s a big step into turning this thing around.”