FC Goa faced a heavy defeat at the hands of Delhi Dynamos on Sunday in the Indian Super League. The Gaurs took the lead through Fulganco Cardozo, but later conceded five goals and turned victims to a humiliating loss. A very upset FC Goa manager Zico faced the media after the game and here are the key points from the press conference.
The Brazilian repeated some of the things that he said in his pre-match press conference. One thing he spoke about was the lack of time he had to build the team this season. Goa were subject to certain controversies after the end of last season and faced punishments that affected the team's performance this term according to Zico.
“I said in the beginning of the league that Goa shouldn't have participated this year because when all other teams were preparing themselves, we were facing trials because of last year's fines.
“So when we started our season the first thing that we looked at was who all we can keep from last year's team so that we can continue further but by that time so many players who we wanted to keep had already signed for other teams, and by the time we got the green signal from the authorities that we could sign players, it had to be done in the last minute", Zico said.
The former Fenerbahce manager then pointed out other reasons like refereeing mistakes and injury woes of his players for the failure of his team. However, the 63-year old remained positive by accepting the nature of the beautiful game and saying his men should take lessons from it.
"Also, if there weren't bad decisions from the referees in crucial games in the beginning of the season, things would have been much better and we could probably have been there in the top 4. Due to the fact that we couldn't pick our choice of players we had to pick some players who had injury problems, so instead of starting with them we had to make them recover first and then play.
“So if we're going to start a season in a bad way, it's going to end in a bad way. But this is part of football and we have to pick good lessons from it, so that we can start new and fresh for the next season and do well", Zico told the media.
The FC Goa manager added that fatigue affected his side on Sunday. Zico then praised Gianluca Zambrotta's Delhi Dynamos side. He said that the team is very strong and is well built. The Brazilian also remarked that the quest for semi-final qualification helped the opposition in the game.
“It was a difficult situation for the team. Our team was very tired from the game against Kolkata [on Thursday], so we had to put in a fresh team to play. It was only after three days and the players weren't able to play together since it was their first time in the formation.
“Delhi is a very good team, very compact; they know how to play their game. In the first half, we held them but in the second they found their way. The other thing is that when there is a motivation factor you play in a certain way, like if the team is in the hunt for the semis… We had nothing like that going for us so that also played a role", the former CSKA Moscow manager explained.
However, Zico disagreed to the opinion that the Lions are the best team in the Hero Indian Super League this season. The Brazilian legend suggested that every team is equal in terms of equality in the tournament.
“I think there is a lot of balance in this league. We can see by the results. You can see the team at the top is Mumbai City FC, the only team we didn't lose to. Some matches we could have drawn and some we could have won, so I don't think Delhi are the best. All teams are equal", he said.
The 63-year old then said that the Indian players should be given more opportunities if the quality of the Indian football needs to be raised. Zico thinks that foreign players are often given more opportunities than the local players and hence their standards have not risen. He added that Kean Lewis and Rowllin Borges are the only two new Indian players who have come up this term.
The Brazilian also suggested that the quota of Indian players in a team should be raised to 8-9.
“I regret to say that in these three years not a lot of Indian players have played. Foreigners have been given more opportunities, so Indian players haven't got a lot chances and they haven't developed as much, hence they can't be compared with the foreign players.
“I think this year there are two good Indian players, Kean Lewis and Rowllin Borges. And all other players are playing well like they did in the previous seasons. We don't have to mention them, they're playing for their national team but there is not a lot of difference in the national team as well, so we need to see more development in the Indian players, so that we can see more Indian players and fewer foreign players.
“So I spoke to some players from Bengaluru FC, who played against the Iraq team [in the AFC Cup final]. The Iraqi team had five players trained by me [in the past]. So these Bengaluru players said there was a lot of difference between the Iraqi players and them mentally and physically and it was difficult for them to play against them.
“When you play with a lot of foreign players, you suffer when you play against teams from Iraq and the UAE, where football is more developed. That's why we need to focus more on Indian players. We need to play 8-9 Indian players consistently and then you can ask me if they have developed.
“I don't like to say all this because I don't want to lie to you and just make you happy. I've not come here to please everyone. I understand football and I want to see it grow", Zico said to the media.