FC Goa were touted to be one of the favorites to compete for the elusive Indian Super League title before Season 7 began. Juan Ferrando's arrival along with the likes of Igor Angulo, Jorge Ortiz, and Brandon Fernandes made the Gaurs a definite challenger for the top-four. However, they have looked like an unsettled side throughout the season and are struggling to win games.
FC Goa's Indian roster is one of the finest in the country. Youngsters like Saviour Gama, Devendra Murgaonkar, Phrangki Buam, Princeton Rebello, and Makan Chothe complement the experienced crop of Indians like Redeem Tlang, Len Doungel, Lenny Rodrigues, Brandon Fernandes, Alexander Jesuraj, and Seriton Fernandes.
Devendra Murgaonkar signed up for the Gaurs after a successful Goa Pro League stint with Salgaocar SC. The 22-year-old forward spoke exclusively to Sportskeeda about his pre-season, training stint under Juan Ferrando, working with the top Indian players, and playing under the likes of Igor Angulo.
Here are the excerpts from the conversation:
Q: How has the pre-season at FC Goa been for you and the team?
The pre-season went well, and we put the pre-season to good use as we have a lot of new players, including me. Also, we have a new coach. It was important to understand his philosophy. So we worked hard on the pitch and played a few friendlies before the season began.
Q: Tell us about your experience of sharing the dressing rooms with senior India internationals like Lenny Rodrigues, Brandon Fernandes, and Seiminlen Doungel?
The experience of working with every senior player, and not just the Indian national players, has been enriching. You get to learn a lot of things from each one of them and they also help you with a lot of small details, which make a player like me get better each day.
Q: How helpful have the overseas players like Igor Angulo, Jorge Ortiz, and Alberto Noguera been in the training camp?
As I said, all of them have been really helpful to all the junior players. If you ask me, I look up to Igor, who has been playing for almost 10-15 years in some of the top European leagues. There is so much that you can learn from seeing him play every day.
Q: Tell us about working with Juan Ferrando.
Coach Juan has been great from Day 1 towards all the players. We work a lot on the technical and tactical aspects of the game. And each day is a new learning for me.
Q: You were at the top of the Goa Pro League scoring charts in the 2018-19 season for Salgaocar. Do you think that was your best playing season?
Honestly, it was a great season for me personally, and finishing at the top of the charts wouldn't have been possible without my teammates. But I feel there's more to come from me. I hope to prove myself at the highest stage of Indian football with FC Goa.
Q: FC Goa have some great striking options. Do you think getting an ample amount of playing time will be a problem for someone young like you?
As you've mentioned, we do have some amazing players who play upfront like Igor, Ortiz & Brandon. But for me, it's about taking the opportunity that I get and proving myself during those chances.
Q: How difficult will it be for players to stay inside the bio-bubble for five months without any interaction with the outside world?
It's a difficult situation not only for me but for everyone across the world. We are lucky that we are able to play and do things that we really enjoy doing. Although we can't mingle with people in person, we can always speak to them via WhatsApp and video calls.
Q: Do you think playing in Goa will act as an advantage for FC Goa and particularly for players originating from the Goa Pro League like you?
Absolutely! It's a huge advantage as we know the surroundings and we play for the badge as it's our home club. As you can see, we have 14 Goan players in the squad.
Q: What are your personal and team goals in the upcoming season?
For every player, it's the same — to get as many minutes as possible, and as a striker, help my team by scoring goals. Our collective objective is to obviously go for the ISL and play well in the AFC Champions League.
Q: Tell us about the best goal you have scored in your career so far.
One goal that I can predominantly remember is against Pune City FC in the AWES Cup which was held at the Tilak Maidan.Published 23 Dec 2020, 21:44 IST