January 19, 2021

ISL 2020-21: Sergio Lobera – I have good memories of FC Goa

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The coach believes that it will be a more open game against FC Goa…

Mumbai City FC coach Sergio Lobera will face his former employers in FC Goa on Wednesday evening at the Fatorda Stadium, a venue which he once called home. He had an unceremonious exit from the club before the end of last season, but the Spaniard has no hard feelings for the Gaurs.

“It is a special game for me. The last three seasons I was at FC Goa. I have good memories. We achieved a lot of things. We (have) got the opportunity to play in Asia. We increased players in the India national team. But tomorrow we need to compete well and win the game,” stated Lobera on the eve of the match. 

The Islanders failed to muster a single shot on target in their previous game against NorthEast United. However, the former Las Palmas coach remains content with his side’s performance and opined that statistics sometimes do not give the real picture. 

“We are the team with the most passes till now. You cannot just consider the shots on target stat. The chances of Farukh (Choudhary) and Sarthak (Golui) were close. We did some things very well. We played with 10 players and still dominated the game. But still, we need to improve. Tomorrow’s game we have to work hard and win.”

Lobera believes that the previous result will have no impact on the game against Goa, and Mumbai will have more space to operate than they enjoyed against NorthEast. However, he will be without the services of midfielder Ahmed Jahouh who picked up a red card in the last game.

“I need to change as I don’t have the same players. We have to eliminate our mistakes and play well. It is not possible to compare the two games. FC Goa plays differently than NorthEast. We are going to have more space tomorrow.  I have the players to implement my idea and style of play. Obviously, we need time. But no excuses, we have to play well and win tomorrow. It will be a very difficult game,” expressed the tactician. 

The 43-year-old informed that he is not sure whether Raynier Fernandes will be available for selection and will take a call after the final practice session on Tuesday evening. 

Hugo Boumous has followed Lobera from Goa to Mumbai this season. But the attacking midfielder revealed that he does not want to focus too much on his ‘past’ and is more interested in the season ahead with Mumbai. 

“Jahouh will be missed tomorrow. But we have players who can replace him. We can also (play) very well without him,” he mentioned.

The Frenchman reflected on the NorthEast United game and agreed that the red card to Jahouh made things difficult. He also spoke about the need to improve on some aspects of their game. 

“It was a bit difficult as we did not have much time to prepare. But it is the same for all teams. We have to take steps to improve. The red card made things complicated. It was not easy playing 10 vs 11. They got one penalty. It was difficult. But we showed some good signs in the match.

“We have to work on that (having no shots on target). We got possession. We have to manage and improve the communication between the midfielders and forwards in the next two games,” said Boumous.