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ISL 2020-21 | We are hoping to build on what was done last year, informs Stuart Baxter

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Stuart Baxter (left) was appointed as the head coach of Odisha FC prior to the season


ISL 2020-21 | We are hoping to build on what was done last year, informs Stuart Baxter

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SportsCafe Desk


Odisha FC head coach Stuart Baxter claimed that they are going to build on the foundation laid by former coach Josep Gambou in the past season. The Indian Super League side will face the likes of Hyderabad FC this Monday evening at the GMC Stadium, in Bambolin.

Odisha FC started its Indian Super League voyage last season, with them failing to make a cut to the play-offs stages, even though they played some exciting football throughout the league. In an attempt to change fortunes, the management summoned English coach Stuart Baxter to take charge of the side, with a bunch of fresh foreign recruits at his disposal. The manager, in the course of his homework, has already done a check-up on the style of play his predecessor adapted and stated that he wants to build on the foundation which has already been laid, even though some improvements are inevitable.

"If you look at last year's performance, the coach (Josep Gombau) was here for two years and they set on a way to play. I watched a lot of games before I came. A certain possession-based football was developing; conceding more goals than the coach wanted and probably didn't score as many on the transition. The set play also needs some polishing," said Stuart Baxter, ahead of their opening match against Hyderabad FC.

"We are hoping to build on what was done last year. I would like us to be efficient as well as attractive. That's not an easy thing to do. So that will be our challenge and we will try and do our best," added the manager.

Odisha FC will miss out on the services of players like Jacob Tratt and Jerry Mawihmingthanga this Monday evening with them serving quarantine earlier. The ISL-side won each of the two matches played against Hyderabad FC last season, but that holds no significance to the upcoming match according to Stuart Baxter. 

“We have a lack of availability through quarantine. Coming straight out of quarantine will be an issue. So we do have challenges on that front. But again, I am probably echoing what most coaches are saying. So, it’s not a case of feeling sorry for yourself it’s a case of finding a solution,” added Stuart Baxter on form against Hyderabad FC. 

Meanwhile, Hyderabad FC coach Manuel Marquez Roca was adamant about winning the first match and bag three points on offer. Although he had already stated that the team has the potential to be a force to reckon with in the future, he pointed out a few players who has the capabilities to shine in the future.

"I think relying on players is risky. You've got to able to play without (depending on) anybody if you can. In football, there are no comfort levels. Your job is to stretch those levels. Winning the first game is important. Although given a choice, I would take a loss in the first game if it meant winning the remaining 19," said Manuel Marquez Roca, in the pre-match press conference. 

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