Monday , December 4 2023

Manolo Marquez instills hope as FC Goa secure best-ever start to an ISL season!

In a stellar display of skill and teamwork across the past few weeks, table-toppers FC Goa, led by head coach Manolo Marquez, have secured their best-ever start to an Indian Super League season, amassing 13 points from their first five matches in the ongoing 2023-24 campaign.

On Sunday, the Gaurs showcased their prowess once again as they triumphed 3-0 over Chennaiyin FC in a thrilling encounter, surpassing their previous record set in 2017 when they had 12 points after five games. This victory also marked their first-ever start to an ISL season with five straight unbeaten results.

In what is another interesting observation, the clash also witnessed the effectiveness of FC Goa’s summer transfer activity. New domestic signings Boris Singh, Rowllin Borges and Udanta Singh found the back of the net, while the likes of Victor Rodriguez, Carl McHugh, Paulo Retre and Jay Gupta also made pivotal contributions, showcasing the Club’s successful recruitment strategy.

Following the game, Coach Manolo Marquez expressed his thoughts on his team’s performance.

“I think that we played a good game – maybe our best game this ISL (season). You never know if a score is fair or not, (be it) 3-0, 2-0, 3-1, (and so on), but I think we deserved to win this game. It’s true that when we were leading 2-0, there were some moments in the second half when Chennaiyin FC pushed a lot. But finally, when we scored the third goal, I felt it was game over,” he remarked.

“I’m very satisfied with the team. Today, I am happy because players like Boris (Singh) and Rowllin (Borges) came in, and so did Brandon (Fernandes) and Noah (Sadaoui) who were returning from an injury phase.

“Finally, when you can also give some minutes to players like (Muhammed) Nemil, I think this is the best thing for a coach – to be able to try his players (without much pressure),” the tactician further added.

Reflecting on how the Men in Orange managed to handle pressure at the start of the second half with a two-goal cushion, the Spaniard shared his insights, stating, “There is an unwritten rule in football – when you are leading 2-0 at half-time, if the trailing team scores a goal in the early minutes of the second half, it seems like they would win the game.

“Chennaiyin FC were pushing a lot at this stage, so 2-0 was a dangerous score. I, however, still prefer it over a 1-0 lead. With 1-0, you have to be very focused because you know that the game is not over, but with 2-0, (only) if you tend to relax maybe and the opponent scores, you can have problems. So far this league season, a few that scored first in their matches eventually lost. Hence, we had to be very focused.”

When asked about the team’s room for improvement, Manolo Marquez responded optimistically, saying, “I think that we can improve – but obviously, across the 22 games (we play in the league season), there will be good games, normal games, and bad games.

“The important thing is that in all games, we have to remain very competitive. Till now, I think that we have been so, even in games that we didn’t play very well,” he signed off.

With their exceptional start to the ISL 2023-24 season, FC Goa have established themselves as one of the teams to watch out for this season. Fans of the club are undoubtedly excited about what the future holds, as the team continues to give them hope with their performances.

Following the upcoming international break, the Men in Orange will return to their backyard, the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium at Fatorda, where they will play three back-to-back home games across late November and early December.

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