ANI Photo | ISL: “Players were not focused,” says FC Goa coach following draw with NEUFC

Following a 1-1 draw with NorthEast United FC, FC Goa coach Manolo Marquez said that players were not fully focused on the game and did not play well, particularly in the first half.
FC Goa took the lead in Guwahati with a goal by Carlos Martinez before NorthEast United FC equalised minutes later through a Jithin MS. FC Goa had a total of nine shots in the whole game, of which four were on target. They even had more possession of the ball but struggled to break down the opposition defence.
This is the first time this season that FC Goa has dropped points since taking the lead. As things stand, the Gaurs hold second place in the league standings and are two points behind table-toppers Kerala Blasters FC. Marquez feels that his side needs to evaluate their recent performance and find out their shortcomings.
“Today, I think that we need to practice self-criticism. The coach is the first who has to do it because I think that we didn’t have the players completely focused on the game,” Marquez stated in the post-match press conference, as quoted by a press release from ISL.
“In the first half, we did not play a good game. In the second half, in terms of effort, the attitude was very good but practically, maybe it is one of the games in which we created fewer chances.”
“As usual, when you do not play a good game, it is important not to lose. Everyone expected that if we could win this game, it would be very good but finally, the opponent also plays to win,” he added.
NorthEast United FC lost defender Michel Zabaco through an injury in the first half but despite his absence, the Highlanders put on a splendid defensive effort to hold the Gaurs to a draw. FC Goa launched wave after wave of attacks throughout the game but found it hard to find a way past a spirited NorthEast United FC side, who defended like a unit.
Marquez appreciated NorthEast United FC’s defensive organisation and also hailed their head coach, Juan Pedro Benali.
“NorthEast United FC is one of the teams with better organisation in terms of how they play, which is very good. For me, Juan Pedro Benali is one of the best coaches in the ISL,” Marquez said.
FC Goa are the only unbeaten team in the league so far and despite being placed two points behind Kerala Blasters FC, they have two games in hand. This was their third draw this season, having won seven of their 10 matches so far. Marquez backed his team to continue the momentum after the international break.
“One more point. Now is a good break for the team,” Marquez said.
“Some players will be on the national team and the rest of the players will be in the Super Cup so we need to keep going,” he said.
“We need to progress when we come back for the training sessions (after the international break),” he added.

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