FC Goa head coach Manolo Marquez feels they need to play a very good game to beat table-toppers Odisha FC. The Kalinga Warriors is at the top of the Indian Super League standings with nine wins in 14 matches and a total of 30 points.
The Gaurs, on the other hand, are placed in second place in the points table with eight wins and three draws in 11 matches. FC Goa is the solitary unbeaten team in the tournament so far and the Friday clash at the Kalinga Stadium between the league’s top two teams will be a battle for the top spot.
“I think we are facing a team which is in a very good momentum. Their (Odisha FC’s) last defeat in two consecutive ones a long time ago. They are unbeaten in a lot of games in all the competitions. They have a very good team and coach. They have a very good strength and conditioning coach too. I think that they are in a very good moment and it will be a tough game for us, but it will be a tough game for them too,” Marquez said in the pre-match press conference.
“If you remember in ISL they play better in the first half and the opposite in the second half. In the Kalinga Super Cup, we played very well in the first half, better than Odisha FC but they killed the game with three actions. This is the most dangerous quality of Odisha FC,” he added.
“They are a team that can manage all situations, they are good in attack but they are also good in counterattack, and they are good in set pieces. It’s a very dangerous team and we need to play a very good game if we want to beat them,” the Spaniard continued.
Meanwhile, veteran defender Sandesh Jhingan will miss the game due to injury whereas Marquez could play Narayan Das and the Spaniard can also give a maiden start to Nim Dorjee.
“I have doubts still about who will play, if I knew I could tell, I wouldn’t have any problems telling. The team is very competitive, Narayan (Das) was okay in the games he played, Nim Dorjee, I know him, is a very good defender. Sandesh (Jhingan) is indeed an important absence in the team, even because of the character he gives to the team but we have options as you say, we have Nim, Narayan, Jay (Gupta), and Carl (McHugh). We have a lot of players,” Marquez commented.
Marquez also showered praise on young midfielder Ayush Dev Chhetri for his consistent performances.
“We have a lot of players also in the midfield, and we want players who want to arrive at the top level, Ayush (Dev Chhetri) is a clear example of a player who wants to arrive at the top level. He is always training in a very high quality. As I have said before, I like to train young players and most of them like to train the same way and arrive at the top level,” he said.
“We have a lot of players, and that’s a nice problem to have—it’s a good situation for a coach. However, I told them that everyone has to know their roles in every single game,” Marquez added.