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ISL 2023-24: Coach Sergio Lobera asserts Odisha FC ready to play against 'difficult' Bengaluru FC (WATCH)

Odisha FC head coach Sergio Lobera is seeking a rebound in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 as they prepare to take on Bengaluru FC at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday.

football ISL 2023-24: Coach Sergio Lobera asserts Odisha FC ready to play against 'difficult' Bengaluru FC (WATCH) snt
First Published Oct 31, 2023, 11:02 AM IST

Odisha FC's head coach, Sergio Lobera, is gearing up for an Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 rebound as they face Bengaluru FC at Bhubaneswar's Kalinga Stadium on Tuesday. The Juggernauts are striving to recover from a tough period in the league, having suffered consecutive defeats and a winless streak in their last three ISL matches.

Also read: ISL 2023-24, Odisha FC vs Bengaluru FC preview: A cracker awaits at Kalinga as both teams eye crucial 3 points

While Odisha FC faces a challenging phase, their opponents, Bengaluru FC, are also struggling in terms of points. However, Bengaluru FC seems to have gained momentum, securing a win and a draw after facing initial defeats in their opening matches.

In the pre-match conference, Lobera expressed readiness and excitement for the upcoming match. "We are going to play against a difficult team because I think they have very good players but we are ready. We are excited with this new opportunity," he said.

Reflecting on their previous game against Kerala Blasters FC, which ended in a 2-1 defeat despite their control over the match, Lobera described the loss as painful and stated the team's anticipation for the clash against Bengaluru FC.

"It was painful, the last game for us but we are looking forward to playing BFC. When you lost one game, you want to immediately play the next game because it is an opportunity to show everyone that we can come back stronger," the Spaniard added.

Despite Odisha FC's consistent ability to score opening goals in their four matches so far, their vulnerability lies in conceding goals, especially in the latter part of the games. Lobera emphasized the need to learn from past mistakes, particularly in managing the game during the second half.

"In the previous games against Chennaiyin FC, Mumbai City FC, FC Goa and Kerala Blasters FC it was an amazing first half where we scored the first goal in all the games. We (have) lost a lot of points in the last minutes," he said.

"We want to win but we need to put our focus on this game. We need to analyse the things we did before and improve some things, I think we scored first in all the games we played and maybe we need to learn to manage the game in the second half," Lobera added.

Acknowledging Bengaluru FC's Sunil Chhetri's scoring capabilities and return from the Asian games, Lobera stressed the significance of focusing on the team's performance rather than individual players. "Sunil Chhetri is a very good player. He gives them a lot of balance. We know the potential of this player but as I said the most important thing for me is the team. It is not about individuals," Lobera opined.

He provided an update on the squad, mentioning Jerry Mawihmingthanga's return and the need to evaluate Lenny Rodrigues' fitness.

Midfielder Princeton Rebello echoed the team's desire to win every game, emphasizing the strong winning mentality instilled by the coach. "We want to win every game as the coach said. We are preparing well. Though we did not have a good result in the last match, but we always wanted to win. That is the coach's mentality," he said. 

Rebello also highlighted the potential threat that Bengaluru FC might pose in the upcoming match. "I feel like it will be a very competitive game because they won't come easy on us and we won't let them come easy as well because we will fight for every challenge and every ball and we will try to win this match, Rebello concluded.

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