Indian Super League (ISL) club FC Goa’s Spanish chief coach Juan Ferrando has said that the experience of playing some of the top continental teams in the AFC Champions League (ACL) Group Stage recently had shown that his side “needs to improve many tactical aspects on the pitch so that we can be more competitive at the international level”.
While FC Goa gave a good account in the premier continental football tournament held in Goa, drawing three games against Qatar’s Al Rayyan and UAE’s Al Wahda, the inexperience was apparent as they also lost three matches — two against Iran’s FC Persepolis and one against Al Wahda — to finish with just three points from six outings.
Persepolis, with 15 points, topped Group E, while Al Wahda, with 13, were second. India couldn’t progress to the knockout round.
“From a psychological point of view, it was tough to accept that we could not get a win. However, in the end, this shows us that in football one needs to be self-demanding and keep improving to be able to celebrate in the future,” said the 40-year-old tactician.
The coach said his biggest challenge was to prepare the team the best way possible despite there being just one day for training between matches. “To play six high-level matches in just 20 days is challenging as there is no time for players to recover properly and for the coach to train them tactically to play the next rival,” said Ferrando.
On the consecutive defeats suffered at the hands of Iran’s Persepolis FC, the coach said, “I hope they (boys) have learned about what playing an international competition means, the effort it requires to play at such a high level. I hope this gives them the motivation to perform even better in the training sessions in the future as these games require one to be at one’s 100 per cent — physically and psychologically.”