posted in Interviews
by FC Goa Official
on 7th May 2020
Juan Ferrando: I love to attack
After being appointed as the new head coach of FC Goa, Juan Ferrando spoke in an exclusive interview with fcgoa.in. The new gaffer talked about his hopes and aspirations on the challenge ahead as well as the fans in Goa, his life and his footballing journey and the challenges that have moulded his life.
How are you and how has life been in these times of the coronavirus?
I feel good. Thankfully, I have not personally had any problems with COVID. I feel happy and strong. Everything is okay.
Welcome to the FC Goa family. How are you feeling about the challenge ahead?
I am very excited and motivated. FC Goa is a big club and I feel this is a great opportunity for me. Not only to work on this project but also in the country (India). It is a pleasure.
How did you fall in love with football?
It was when I watched Maradona in the World Cup in Mexico. I was around 5 years of age. I remember watching the games at my home, in the dressing room. I and my father would watch the games together. I think that was the moment I fell in love with football.
Then in Italy and the USA (the subsequent World Cups), the big teams were playing and everything was so incredible. All the blocks were falling into place.
What serves as your inspiration – both in life as well as football?
Professionally as well as personally, my goal is to improve day by day. (I like) To get better as a professional and put in work on the personal front as well. To give my best every day and help everybody in my life. That can be my family, my friends, my coaching staff or my players.
This is the basic principle of my life.
Any coach that you like personally? And why?
I don’t have one specific coach that I really look up to. However, I certainly look up to a number of them and try to learn from everything that I have in front of me. For example, what Jurgen Klopp is doing at Liverpool, the positional attacks of (Pep) Guardiola etc. When (Thomas) Tuchel was working at Borussia Dortmund, I used to really look up to his work as well.
Five to six years back it was Guus Hiddink at Chelsea. I learn from a number of coaches, but I won’t say I have one specific coach I base myself on.
What or who has been the greatest influence in your life?
100%, the biggest influence in my career was my father. He was an incredible man. He had all the time in the world for me and was the biggest influence. In a lot of moments, when I needed someone, he was there.
He helped me realise and fulfil my dream. When I was playing, he was there to motivate me. He would come to training and the games. He was incredible.
For example, in the finals of the tournaments I used to play in the U16, U17 or U18 tournaments, he used to call me 2 hours before the game and he would be like ‘Yes! You can do it! You can do it!’. He was a big motivation.
What can FC Goa fans expect from you in the time to come in terms of style of play?
It is about the style, you know. I know it is very important for the club. And it is not just the club but everyone around the world of football, who love football. (They) Love to attack. I love to attack.
This is the most important thing for me. In my opinion, all the players on the field, irrespective of what their position is, they want to attack. This is normal.
At the end of the day, the players need to enjoy the game. And the same goes for the supporters. They need to enjoy the game. This is our mentality. This is my mentality. And 100%, I can say that it will be the mentality going forward.
You took up coaching at a very young age. What prompted you to do that?
Injuries. When I was around 18 or 19 years of age, I had a number of injuries in my hip and knees. The ligaments, the muscles. Those were terrible times.
Then I had to find a new way of being in football. I used to think as a coach when I used to play. And that helped me.
Injuries are a terrible thing. Whether in football or any other sport, the injuries can take a huge toll, not only on the body but also on the psychology of the players.
After some time spent thinking, I decided to start my career as a coach.
You have worked in the academy as well as with the senior teams. How different is the challenge?
It is very different of course. In the academy, in my opinion, the biggest thing is for them to learn. The ways, the positional sense in terms of attack or defence. They need to learn to communicate, to associate in the vital moments of the game. It is the most important time for people to learn.
To be polished by 16, 18 or 19, you need to spend time. And then they become seniors and the learning is still important. However, now the final score becomes very important as well.
When you are a professional, you know that if you win, everything is good. If you lose, there are a lot of problems. This is the reality.
I loved my time in the academy. As a kid, you just want to play the whole day. You want the ball at all times.
When you are a senior, there are a lot of things – the importance of games, the pressure. Every touch, every pass is watched and criticised. Things are really different.
What’s the biggest challenge that you have faced in life and how did you overcome that?
100%. When I took the decision to stop playing the game, I remember I was in my room after I had another difficult injury in my hip. It was a Saturday in October. I was crying. It was difficult to come to terms that it is no longer possible for me to be a professional player.
A lot of doctors actually told me that it would be tough for me to even lead a normal life and even run. So, certainly, this is the most challenging phase of my life.
You come from a football-mad country and Goa is a football-mad state. The passion is relentless. How do you cope up with that as a coach?
Football is about passion. If passion doesn’t exist, neither does football. In England and Spain, you can feel it. And I took in a few games in Goa on the TV and I would have to say it was perfect.
The passion and atmosphere were evident. Of course, I would love for the supporters to come and enjoy the game, but I love that typical stadium feel – a lot of noise, a lot of supporters.
For example, when in the Europa League and we would go to places like Serbia or Croatia, the supporters were really crazy. This is the basics of football. In places, they would be like, ‘Okay let’s go to the stadium, it’s just a football game.’ Not a lot of passion, you know.
I saw the games in Goa, and I have to say I love the stadium.
Your best XI?
That is very difficult. I can tell you one first XI today, it will change within a year’s time. You start thinking about Maradona, Maldini, Beckenbauer or Roberto Baggio – my favourite player. I remember in that 1994 World Cup he was amazing – technically, dribbling, taking the right decisions. Pff!
Now we have Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. And then you think of Teven and Kun Agero, it’s very difficult. Of course, I would love to have these players in Goa but I think that is going to be a bit difficult.
It is not necessary that I have to have these players.
In football, there is a lot of marketing and people make their choices based on that. Take for example, (Mohamed) Salah. He is a top player. If my sporting director or president tells me, “Juan, what do you want? Messi, Salah or Cristiano Ronaldo?” Okay. That’s not a problem.
Well, I can say Edinson Cavani is gettable (joking). He is at the end of the contract at Paris Saint-Germain.
On a serious note, I would say we have a great squad and I am happy with the players that we have.
What’s your favourite formation? – Saish Sail
There is not one system. I like to change in accordance with the situation. The basic is 3-4-3, but of course, it depends. It depends on the opponents, the moment in the game or the quality of the players I have. There are a lot of things.
This is the job of a coach – to decide which is the best moment to change the details based on the situation.
Hi Coach. We think you look like Sylvester Stallone from Rambo. Did you hear this for the first time..? – FC Goa Fan Club
Really! Maybe in the dressing room, I am similar. But only in the dressing room.
How do you feel to be a part of GAUR family? And what’s ur message to FC Goa fans in the upcoming season – Purnima Prabhu
My message would be for the fans to come to the stadium, enjoy the game. We will give 100% so that we can always be proud of our team. In my mind, the most important is that the supporters come to the stadium and enjoy themselves – whether it be the league, the cup or the Champions League.
The people should come to the stadium to enjoy. That is the job that we have on our hands.