ISL 2022–23: FC Goa manager Carlos Pena on playing Kerala Blasters: “The game on Sunday is going to be the toughest of all.”

At the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium in Kochi on Sunday, November 13, FC Goa will take on Kerala Blasters in their fifth game of the 2022–23 Indian Super League (ISL) season.

Goa is now third in the ISL standings with nine points after winning three and losing one of their four games. If they defeat Kerala Blasters on Sunday, they would pass ATK Mohun Bagan in the ISL standings.

Goa’s head coach, Carlos Pena, addressed the media prior to the game and discussed his team’s successful start to the ISL season:

“Winning is vital at all times, but the first games are crucial for the team’s chemistry because they feature new players and staff. It’s crucial to have confidence going into the first games.

After Fares Arnaout injured himself 10 minutes into the play against Jamshedpur, Goa was forced to finish the game with an all-Indian defense. However, the backline displayed no indications of worry as they contributed to the team’s 3-0 victory.

Pena insisted in response to a question regarding the same that he has no reservations about using an all-Indian defense once more. He stated:

“Sure, that. In my opinion, we have a very strong starting lineup with plenty of excellent Indian players who can play in the back four, giving all of the foreign players an advantage in the attack.”We approach games or based on the moments you have in particular games from different angles. An all-Indian backline is conceivable, yes.

Added him:

“It worked in the previous game because all the guys gave really strong commitment. With the ball in our hands, we could influence the game. So, sure, I’m incredibly thrilled for the squad and Glan [Martins, who took Arnaout’s place] in particular.

Alvaro Vazquez and Marc Valiente missed the game due to injury, while Arnaout lost against Jamshedpur. Pena gave an update on each of the three foreign players.

“Some of our players are attempting to join the game, but they need to complete more sessions. Watch to see how they do. We’ll decide on Sunday if we can rely on some of them.

Pena stated his satisfaction with how Goa performed against Jamshedpur but emphasized that he is now focused on the ISL matchup against Kerala Blasters:

“I’m pleased with the team’s performance [against Jamshedpur].” We anticipated the game, however there are still many areas that need to be improved. Although they had a few chances and I believe we had some flaws in both halves, it is all part of the journey.

On Sunday, we play Kerala Blasters in a crucial match. Against a different squad, in a different setting. We’ll make an effort to adjust and continue to play in our current manner. We’re going to go for three points once more.

Goa has already faced Jamshedpur and Hyderabad FC this season, the shield and trophy winners from last year. Pena, though, thinks that the Gaurs’ greatest test in the ISL thus far will be their trip to Kochi. He clarified:

“As I often say, and I apologize if I sound repetitious, it will be difficult for both of us and for them. We’ll be playing in a top-notch facility against a team that is really aggressive and intense.However, we are going into the game with confidence. Although we are very confidence in ourselves, we are aware that it won’t be simple. We will err if we believe that everything will be simple right now.

“The contest on Sunday will be the most difficult of all the ones we have played so far. We’ll approach the game in that manner.

The similarity in the playing philosophies of the two sides was also brought up by the Spanish tactician. He explained:

“I believe FC Goa and Kerala Blasters play similarly. Though they aim to press a lot more than Goa, I believe they are a very good team in transitions. The number of possessions may vary.

Pena also said

But I don’t think having something is the most important thing. I like that there are various ways to control the game. Possession can sometimes help you win games, and other times it might cost you. I believe we are currently handling this component of the game pretty well.

Before his 100th ISL game, Pena waxes poetic about Seriton Fernandes, a star player for Goa.

Seriton Fernandes, a star for Goa, will likely face Kerala Blasters in his 100th ISL game. Pena showered the 30-year-old with accolades as he approaches a historic accomplishment:

Seriton deserves a lot of praise. Playing for FC Goa is the fulfillment of his desire. He has competed with all the coaches [while he has been here], so credit to him. It’s not easy to play 100 games.

Added the Goa boss:

Seriton has the talent to play even for the national team, therefore I encourage him to keep practicing and having fun.”As a result, [I’m] really pleased with him, his devotion, and the thus far demonstrated performances. To play 100 more games, continue to operate in the same manner.

It will now be interesting to see if Goa can keep up their recent success under Pena by defeating Kerala Blasters in the ISL on Sunday.

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