With a new coach at the helm, FC Goa will be looking to continue their unbeaten streak against Odisha FC on Friday.
FC Goa parted ways with Spanish coach Juan Ferrando and turned back to Derrick Pereira in a frantic last few days which saw Ferrando join ATK Mohun Bagan after Antonio Lopez Habas vacated his chair at the helm.
“It was shocking as well as exciting to get the call (to take charge of the first team). Before this, I was taking care of the youth teams at FC Goa and involved with the day to day activities,” remarked Pereira.
“When I got this opportunity, there were a lot of thoughts in my head. Within me, I knew it was always a ‘yes’. But I asked for a day. I needed time to talk to my family," he said.
'Get back to our winning ways'
Goa are currently standing eighth in the points table after having seven points from six games. A ray of hope remains in the fact that they have not lost in their last three outings, two victories and a draw after three successive losses.
This, however, is not the first time that Derrick has been summoned to clean up a situation like this. Derrick had managed FC Goa previously in the 2019-20 campaign when he was approached by the Gaurs after the mid-season departure of coach Sergio Lobera.
While talking about his unexpected appointment and the surprise departure of Ferrando, Derrick said, “I have faced this before. I’m 100% sure the players will be professional. Such issues off the field and on the field come and go and you’ve got to overcome them.”
“I spoke to some of the senior players and they know what they have to do. And I know we’ll overcome this situation as quickly as possible. We are trying to create an atmosphere to get back to our winning ways,” he added.
Seeking a change of fortunes
Odisha FC, meanwhile, is looking to reverse their recent run of form. The Kiko Ramirez-coached side have been winless in the last two games and have dropped to seventh in the table from six matches.
In their six games this season in Hero ISL, Odisha FC have scored 12 goals, an average of 2 goals a game. But defensively, they have slipped often, conceading 13 times in total.
Kiki Ramirez acknowledged his side's weakness at the back. "Maybe it is good for the neutrals but we as a coaching unit our main priority is not letting in goals in any game. We need to work hard and implement our strategies in the game," he said.