Fans played a key role in the win against Odisha FC, says Manolo Marquez

posted in Interviews by FC Goa Official on 8th October 2023

posted in Interviews

by FC Goa Official

on 8th October 2023

Fans played a key role in the win against Odisha FC, says Manolo Marquez

Congratulations have kept pouring in for FC Goa from all corners of the country since pulling off a remarkable comeback win against Odisha FC in the Indian Super League on Saturday, with Noah Sadaoui and Jay Gupta scoring the goals that helped the Gaurs take all three points home. Head coach Manolo Marquez, meanwhile, lauded the Club’s fans who created a huge impact in the stands and made the Fatorda Stadium a true fortress for the Men in Orange.

“With the kind of game that the team played, the fans were very important. They aligned in the same direction as the team (pushing for a winning goal). Their presence and support was thoroughly felt, they played a key role,” he said at the post-match press conference.

The Spaniard also touched upon the team’s performance, saying, “I’m very happy (compared to the previous game with Punjab FC). It may be difficult to understand now – we had a clean sheet the other day, while today we conceded twice. Today again, our players seemed to be a bit scared and on the back-foot in the first 25 minutes or so, but we had full control over the proceedings during the remainder of the game.”

“It’s not just about the goal-scorers Noah and Jay – every player did their job, and we played as a team especially in the second half. The team was very combinative, we recovered the ball very fast and applied good pressure.

“I think this is the team that we want to see in every game. When the match seemed to be heading towards a draw, we were still looking for a winner and finally scored in the 96th minute. I think I was close to having a heart attack at that moment,” Manolo Marquez added, amidst laughs from the audience.

A not-so-great start, a riveting half-time talk and a matured response

Addressing the shaky start, Marquez observed that the positions of some players were not quite right, and that things became better progressively once that was rectified.

“In modern-day football, the attack starts right from the backline. Today, the full-backs Jay and Seriton (Fernandes) were practically in the same line as the centre-backs Odei (Onaindia) and Sandesh (Jhingan). Yes, Udanta (Singh) and Noah received the ball often, but in football we need different options. Finally, when the full-backs started playing higher up and with Brandon (Fernandes) playing on the inside along with (Carl) McHugh and Raynier (Fernandes) directly with Carlos (Martinez), we established control,” the 55-year-old explained.

“I’m very happy with the performance except for the first 25 minutes. There still are a lot of ups and downs, however. We had a crazy game last time and today we played well. This is not acceptable, we need to be consistently good.”

With FC Goa trailing by a goal at half–time, the team talk in the dressing room also came up as a topic of discussion. “Looking back now, it seems I was a bit arrogant, but I did tell them that we will turn the score around because we were playing okay,” Manolo Marquez revealed.

He further added: “They (Odisha FC) were suffering and we were recovering the ball very fast. We faced a very good team with very good players and a coach who has achieved a lot of success in the ISL, and my players weren’t completely convinced. That’s the most important thing, perhaps – to be convinced about your own abilities, even while playing against a team, which, for me, was a very good side.”

Another player who enjoyed a good outing on the pitch on Saturday was captain Brandon Fernandes, who came close to scoring and assisting twice each. The Benaulim native, however, had to be substituted around the 75th minute due to injury.

“It’s true that he faced some problems in the last training session before the match. But still, he played very well but finally couldn’t continue and asked to be subbed off. I don’t know yet if it’s a muscle problem or a knock, but we had to make the change,” Marquez said.

“When you take out two players while at a winning position, things get difficult, and as you can see we conceded almost immediately. But the team reacted very well after (Mourtada) Fall’s second goal. We made a defensive mistake in that set-piece, but the reaction that followed was very mature. Victor (Rodriguez) helped a lot in this – he is someone with a lot of experience and quality as he showed today.”

The tactician finally spoke about taking on East Bengal FC next, away from home.

“It seems FC Goa are strong at home and weak away, and this is something I want to change. We need to be the same team everywhere. With this kind of game that the team played today, the fans were very important. They aligned in the same direction as the team. We will now need to head to Bhubaneswar to play an away game, which is also not an away game at the same time as it’s a neutral venue,” Manolo Marquez concluded.