Odisha FC head coach Stuart Baxter feels that playing back-to-back matches will against the same opponents in a span of few days be difficult for both sides. The 'Juggernauts' were up against Chennaiyin FC only last Sunday, at the GMC Stadium, in Bambolin, with the match ending 0-0.
After playing out a goalless draw against Chennaiyin FC in the previous game on Sunday, Odisha FC is all set to take on the same opponents again in the reverse fixture on Wednesday. Head Coach Stuart Baxter attended the Pre-Match Press Conference ahead of tomorrow’s game and explained that both teams will have their difficulties in playing back to back games against each other.
“That’s like – Is the glass half full or half empty. I think you can look at it in both ways. What all we know is whatever it is it is for both teams. If it is positive then they have got as much positive as we have and the opposite. The only thing I would say is it’s gonna be difficult for both teams because of the closeness in terms of refreshing. I think both teams will have their difficulties,” he stated during the virtual media interaction.
When asked about the change in tactics after the last game against CFC, the experienced manager asserted, “It’s a possibility always when you have these double-headers. We will see because we have to look at the freshness of the players we have to look at the injuries. We have got a suspension with Jacob (Tratt) so that is on the table. But, we will make a final decision later this evening.”
Odisha won only one out of the 10 games that they have played so far in the first round of matches. He also spoke about the performance of the team so far and explained more about how to improve the performance and get the right result going ahead in the competition.
“I don’t think you can expect changes based on what we have had in the past. You can base the changes on how we think we can progress the team. We weren’t satisfied with the results but in many games, we have thought that we have been better than the results showed. We have not been satisfied with all the performances but the only way to improve those performances is by working hard in training and making sure that we do more things that will get the right results. You don’t get by just shuffling the pack and playing some sort of lottery with players.”
“If I look at the ATK performance, against one of the top teams in the country, we could easily have won that game. That was a great performance; I don’t see just because we got a win I don’t see those performances being a huge step forward. When we played Bengaluru we were very close to beating them. NorthEast, exactly the same. I think the performances against Mumbai and Goa were substandard and I don’t think we were in with a show there. Apart from that, we have shown in every game that we have been competitive. Of course, the 4-2 win against Blasters, I think that was our best-balanced game. I don’t think there’s been that huge leap forward. I think it’s been a gradual progress,” Coach Baxter pointed out.
Odisha FC have got a policy of developing Indian youngsters. The team has also done well so far in terms of many players who have performed well regularly in the ongoing season as well. When asked about his thoughts on the team missing quality senior Indian players and if he is looking out for some in the January window, the gaffer replied, “You can look at every team and you can find faults. We had decided at the beginning of the season that we prioritize the youth and we prioritize development. We are not gonna throw our policy under the bus but if there are players who become available those we think can help the squad and help the young players develop. Then I am sure that the club will be interested. Certainly, it’s not going to be a massive change of direction.”
Speaking on individual player performances from the last game, he said, “It was the most matured performance that we have seen from him (Gaurav Bora). Arsh (Arshdeep Singh) made one very good save and he is playing well at the moment. I think he is the one who has really grabbed hold of the goalkeeping shirt and if we get more players doing that like Bora seems to have done, Jacob has improved since he has moved to right-back, Diego is now scoring goals. We want that all over the field.”