FC Goa coach Carlos Pena and captain Brandon Fernandes are confident the team has overcome the psychological block of playing from within the bubble and are ready to present the first ISL trophy to Goa with the roar of their fans.
“I do agree it was difficult for the boys to play from within the bubble and without the fans. The boys are psychologically prepared to face the fans and our football is going to be entertaining, FC Goa coach Carlos Pena told the gomantaktimes.com on the sidelines of a get-together with journalists before the start of Indian Super League (ISL).
Pena said some of the payers are all ambitious and hungry and the same will reflect in their football at the ISL. There will be certainly many good teams in the league but we are without fear and ready to attack, he added.
“We missed playing in front of our fans. Playing football without fans is different and difficult but now that the fans are back, the boys are raring to go and you can expect a feast of football,” said FC Goa captain Brandon Fernandes.
“I spoke to coach Carlos when he arrived. I shared my points and my ideas with him and he explained his plans to me. It is now up to us to deliver what he wants and I think we are on the same wavelength,” added Brandon.
He said this time FC Goa has news plans up its sleeves and "I am certain these new things will help us make the difference."
FC Goa has won the ISL shield once and has come close to winning the title thrice. “I have recovered fully and am ready to go for the best again,” stated Glan Martins who is known for his long-range curlers with which he has earned points for his team.
“The players with whom I played with before have understood and adapted to my shift of role and I have no problems in this regard. The level of cooperation and anticipation is high and I can see each player giving his best during practice,” stated Carlos.
Speaking to the media earlier, Ravi Puskur, Director of Football at FC Goa, said the present team is built on a solid foundation, but, yes, winning ISL will be a challenge. "We have a good pool of players from our grassroots football programme, and in times to come FC Goa will have good options to choose from," he said.
This season, four new foreign players have joined the attack, Edu Bedia being the oldest one. Among the new entrants, Moroccan international Noah Sadaoui is adjusting well to the playing conditions and is raring to go.
Speaking to the media, Noah said it was almost two months here in Goa for him and he was adjusting well. He had a word of praise for the local players, who, he said, were getting better every day.