Manolo Marquez is the new man that FC Goa has been entrusted to, hoping for a return to their days of glory. The Spanish coach believes that Goan players are “technically good with the ball, but that they need to work on improving when they are not in possession”.
“Every game will be tough, but we have to be optimistic because we have a good squad,” said the Spanish coach during an afternoon with the media.
“You cannot win all games. Football is for players and fans,” said Manolo, as he spoke of his team’s plan for the Indian Super League (ISL) 10.
FC Goa has seen the roll of the ball – reaching heights and touching lows – and with the fans always wanting the best. The new FC Goa CEO, while admitting that the squad and management erred, promised a different brand of soccer through the new coach.
Manolo started making his mark as a coach on Indian terrain after winning the ISL title with Hyderabad FC when the world was fighting the pandemic and football was played within the confines of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).
“COVID was a disaster, and we are happy to be playing our first game with the fans. Our players need to show quality for the fans to come to the stadium. In football, we all need to go together,” expressed Manolo when outlining fans' expectations.
“After five months you can be the best or down,” he said while surmising that football is not predictable.
“Indian players need to improve physically, and since my first visit, there has been a lot of improvement and hopefully there will be more. Physical fitness keeps evolving, and the boys should be in tune,” said Manolo when asked to draw the line between the physical fitness of Indian and foreign players.
Youngsters in Indian football have started shining since the arrival of Manolo, a man most capable of bringing out the best in many youngsters all over the country.
“Youngsters show me their quality, and when they do so, they should be given a chance to play. If young players play better than seniors, they get a chance. Age is not a problem with me,” observed Manolo.
FC Goa did not return with laurels after competing in the recently concluded Durand Cup. Despite acknowledging the importance of the competition, Manolo admitted that the tournament for FC Goa was a pre-season training.
“I know the Durand Cup is a tournament of repute, but we looked at it as another opportunity to get ready for the season. We used the tournament to prepare for the forthcoming season,” admitted Manolo.
“The title of captain is just a tag for me. Every player in the team knows his responsibility and shoulders the responsibility of a captain. The responsibility is on everyone and that is how we succeed,” stated FC Goa captain Brandon Fernandes.
Rowllin Borges from Nuvem, who started his ISL career with North East United FC and has joined FC Goa in its tenth edition, expressed his happiness on getting the opportunity to play with Brandon with whom he had represented the state in age-group tournaments.
“It is nice to play with Brandon again. I have good memories of the past and am sure we will carry on the good work,” stated Rowllin.
FC Goa plays Punjab FC in their opener at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda on Gandhi Jayanti.