The mainstay of FC Goa defence, Bruno Pinheiro looks forward to the Hero Super Cup as 'an opportunity to repay the fans' who had backed the team throughout the season.
"We have come here to win something and give our fans an opportunity to rejoice. The expectations were very high and we managed to go to semifinals of ISL. Nevertheless, they backed us throughout and now we have to replay them," the Portuguese defender sounded focused during the pre-match press conference before his team lock horns with ATK in the Hero Super Cup tomorrow (April 3, 2018).
Coach Derrick Pereira summed up the Hero ISL season well and stated that the players have synchronised well with gaffer Sergio Lobera which eked out a good season for them to proceed to the semifinals.
"We had a decent season having reached to the top four, especially after last season when we finished with the wooden spoon. Sergio Lobera brought in his football acumen and a fantastic set of players gelled well with his style."
He continued, "This is going to be an interesting tournament and everybody is serious to put up a good show."
FC Goa signed off with an outright 4-1 win at home and a feisty 1-1 draw against ATK in the recently-concluded Hero ISL but Bruno Pinheiro sees it a new challenge and they have to start afresh to overcome ATK again.
"ISL is past now and we're focusing on tomorrow's game. I take every game as a different story. ATK have regrouped under their new coach. Their motivation level must be very high. We must rely on our strengths to get the better of them."
Meanwhile, Bruno Pinheiro added, "This is the first instance of this tournament happening in the country. It'll be a major honour for us to win it and etch our name in the history book."
ATK have overcome a sturdy Chennai City FC in the Hero Super Cup qualifiers and now they're ready to throw a strong challenge to their familiar foes FC Goa in the knockout tournament.
Asst. Coach Bastob Roy was quoted as saying in the pre-match press conference, "We have come here to win. We believe in our abilities and we know if we perform to our potential, we can win tomorrow's match against FC Goa."
On being asked whether the Kolkata-based team can be third time lucky against FC Goa, the eloquent coach mentioned, "It was the last day in February in the ISL and we're playing them again tomorrow i.e. 3rd April. Lots of changes have happened since then. Even the atmosphere of the venue has also altered."
"It's a new format and it'll be a fresh game tomorrow. We're not going back to recall the Hero ISL games but looking forward to a fresh start with renewed vigour," he added.
The young goalkeeper Kunzang Bhutia didn't mince his words to thank veteran goalkeeper Jussi Jääskeläinen and Debjit Majumder for sharing the nuances of goalkeeping with him.
"I have been always learning from a goalkeeper like Jussi who needs no introduction to the football world. Debjit is also there who's senior to me in terms of experience and I don't fall shy going to them to learn tidbits of goalkeeping."Published 02 Apr 2018, 17:29 IST