FC Goa head coach Juan Ferrando looks at positives of a closed-door ISL season

With the ISL 2020-21 being played in Goa, the coach believes the lack of travel will benefit the players’ recovery process.

By Naveen Peter

Over the past seasons, one thing that most of the teams in the Indian Super League (ISL) have complained about is the lack of recovery time for the players.

With clubs involved in a fixture every third day, the exhaustion of the high-intensity matches and training sessions often took its toll on football players as the season progressed. 

But with ISL 2020-21 being played in Goa alone, FC Goa head coach Juan Ferrando hopes that life will be a bit easy.

“It’s the positive side (of having the entire league in one place),” he said answering an Olympic Channel query during the club’s media day. 

“We are not travelling 4-5 hours (by air) after every game. We get back to our hotels and we can start the recovery as soon as we can. That’s a good thing.”

Edu Bedia has been named captain of FC Goa for ISL 2020-21. Photo: FC Goa

Though Juan Ferrando took over as head coach of FC Goa in April, it wasn’t until a few weeks back that the Spaniard arrived in India for his latest assignment.

And with a mandatory quarantine eating up a week’s time, he’s left with just over three weeks of pre-season to get his team in shape for the opening match against Bengaluru FC on November 22.

While Ferrando admitted that the lack of preparatory time could affect the team’s performance, he hoped that FC Goa’s upcoming friendly against ATK Mohun Bagan could help him gel with his players quickly.

“We don’t have a lot of time in the preseason. But with friendly games, we can check some details. Our challenge right now is to understand the methods and building the chemistry between players. Most important is to help the players understand the philosophy,” Ferrando stated.

A change in coach would also mean a change in playing philosophy that the team adopts. But FC Goa captain Edu Bedia isn’t worried.

“I do believe we will continue to play the same style of football. We will be a lot more organised on defence and attack. Tactical concepts we have learned this year will help us to grow,” Bedia said.

“This year we will have more tactical nuance which will help the team get better. Looking back and reflecting against some teams who were better tactically, did better against us. I think that may have cost us the title, ultimately. So with this change, I think we can do better.”

Brandon Fernandes will hope to raise his game in ISL 2020-21. Photo: FC Goa

Moreover, with ISL 2020-21 being played behind closed doors, another thing that every team will have to deal with is the lack of fan support during matches. 

Though FC Goa’s winger Brandon Fernandes admitted not having the team’s faithful will be a big miss, he believed playing at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda could benefit the team.

“We (FC Goa) have been playing our matches at Fatorda in the past six seasons. We are familiar with the ground. It is going to be a bit of advantage but it is going to be tough as all the teams want to compete and it is going to be all about the given day - if you perform well, you will get the results," Fernandes reasoned.