FC Goa have struggled in the 2021-22 season of the Indian Super League so far. Winless in their last four games, the Gaurs have dropped to ninth in the points table. However, head coach Derrick Pereira believes the league standings are not a true reflection of the quality that FC Goa possesses.
Addressing a press conference ahead of the clash against Chennaiyin FC, the FC Goa gaffer said in response to a Sportskeeda query:
"Every match is tough, all the teams are tough, but on a given day, if we play to our potential, we can get a good result and that is what we’re working on. The standings don’t reflect the strength of our team, so we want to improve our standing on the table match by match. We have to stay focused throughout the game."
Derrick Pereira also opened up about the club's preparations ahead of the final game of the first phase of the league. He said:
"It has not been an ideal preparation for the match tomorrow, but keeping everything aside these types of troubles, circumstances have kept coming our way from the beginning of the season. Our focus should be on Saturday’s game in whatever way we can plan it out, go in there and put our best foot forward. We also need to keep the composure up front to finish and hopefully keep a clean sheet."
Asked what kind of approach FC Goa would opt for, Derrick Pereira said:
"From now on, it is all do or die. For us, we have to go for the three points. We have to plan in such a way that we go for the maximum. I was happy to hear from the other coaches that FC Goa is a very good team and then you know the [league] standing doesn’t reflect that, but we should continue playing good football and believe in ourselves."
He further added:
"Now that we have our injured players back, we need to build that understanding among ourselves and create opportunities to score. If we get one good win, then we’ll get enough confidence and motivation to do well in the remaining matches."
Injuries and suspensions to our key players upfront had definitely hampered our attack: FC Goa boss Derrick Pereira on lack of goals
Derrick Pereira took charge of the FC Goa squad days after former boss Juan Ferrando left for ATK Mohun Bagan. The former Salgaocar centre-back has now managed the Gaurs for three matches. Asked what he has made of the side so far, the 59-year-old said:
"Although I was not involved in the day-to-day activities, I used to watch the team from outside, and I know most of the players. When I came in, the response was huge and a positive one that gave me more confidence and motivation to work harder, get the team together, and go forward from here."
FC Goa have only scored 13 goals in the league so far, third lowest in the league. Asked by Sportskeeda if the coach felt there was a specific reason behind the lack of goals, Derrick Pereira said:
"Injuries and suspensions to our key players upfront had definitely hampered our attack, but now since all players, except for Brandon [Fernandes] who is yet to get fit, are back into the squad, hopefully we’ll start scoring goals with the chances that we’re creating."
While FC Goa have suffered injuries to crucial attacking players, it has also allowed them to field youngsters and give them exposure. Muhammed Nemil has been one of the prime benefactors. He's started two back-to-back games now. Asked by Sportskeeda what the coach made of his performances, Derrick Pereira said:
"Nemil is a young player, he has the potential, and we believe that as he gets more playing time, he’ll keep on getting better. We are looking at him for our future at FC Goa and along with him, there are other players who need to get opportunities too. We are waiting for the right time to push them in and give them more playing time so that they are exposed at this level to know what is required of them in different scenarios of the game."