Odisha FC will go into the Indian Super League 2020-21 season with the play-offs berth in mind. The Bhubaneswar-based side will play only their second season as a football club after a decent finish in the first season. The Juggernauts have a perfect mix of experienced foreigners and emerging young Indians under Head Coach Stuart Baxter.
Sportskeeda spoke exclusively with Australian center-back Jacob Tratt on the ongoing pre-season of the club, their experience in Goa and their season objectives.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q: How has the pre-season been so far with Odisha FC?
It has been really good. There are a lot of new faces and a lot of new challenges ahead of us, but everyone at the club is doing their best to adapt and make sure we can perform at our best every day.
Q: What are your first thoughts on Goa and India?
It’s very nice. I feel lucky to be staying at Alila Diwa, it is a beautiful resort and the staff have been incredibly accommodating.
Q: How do you evaluate the quality and commitment of the young Indian players in the squad?
Exceptional. The work ethic from all of the Indian players inspires me, I think that mindset with the experienced coaching of Stuart Baxter will allow some of these young players to learn a lot about the game and excel this year.
Q: How difficult do you think it is for an individual to stay in a bio-bubble and be out of touch with the outside world for five months?
It can be very tough. But I think the culture at this club will help everyone stay connected and make the most out of this experience.
Q: ISL has games every 3-4 days. How important are squad depth and player fitness in this season?
It will be very important throughout the season as the chances of injuries and fatigue increase dramatically with such short turnarounds. So every individual will have an important role in contributing to the success of the team.
Q: How do you think the five-substitution rule will impact the style and gameplay of the teams?
The 5-subs will be very influential throughout the season and I think it will be important to make the most of them to not only have an impact on the game but to help long term with fatigue/injuries etc.
Q: How does it feel to play with the experience of Steven Taylor by your side in the defense?
It has been very helpful to work alongside Steven Taylor. We both get on really well and I am learning more and more from him every day and together I think we can help this team.
Q: Why do you think so many players from the A-League have joined the Indian Super League this season?
The changes and rippling effects of COVID-19 through Australian football coupled with great opportunities offered in India have resulted in a lot of quality A-League players coming over to join the ISL.
Q: What are your individual and team objectives for the upcoming season?
To play as many games as possible and as a team finish as high up on the table as we can.Published 21 Nov 2020, 12:59 IST