ANI Photo | “Our target is to win the shield”: FC Goa’s Manolo Marquez ahead of Mohun Bagan Super Giant clash

FC Goa head coach Manolo Marquez expects a difficult game as his team prepares to host Mohun Bagan Super Giant in Matchweek 15 of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 season at the Fatorda Stadium in Goa on Wednesday.
The Gaurs currently occupy the second place in the league table, registering 28 points from their 12 games. In the reverse fixture back in December 2023, FC Goa trounced Mohun Bagan SG with a 4-1 scoreline.
The Mariners, who are currently fourth in the table, will look to avenge their loss while Marquez’s men will return to their home for the first time since the restart of the ISL 2023-24 season with the motive of continuing their unbeaten start to the season to close the gap between them and league leaders, Odisha FC.
The head coach believes that Mohun Bagan SG have quite a few players who can be the x-factor for their team and win them matches.
“They (Mohun Bagan SG) are growing. We know how the Mohun Bagan players are. They have six or seven players who can decide one game in one action,” stated Marquez in the pre-match press conference, according to ISL.
Expecting a difficult game ahead, he added, “I think that we need to be focused on our team, on our game. And, we know perfectly that it will be a very difficult game. But again, it will be a very difficult game for them too.”
“They are always a big team. And if you don’t play a good game against big teams, you have a lot of chances to lose the games,” shared Marquez.
The Mariners have won just one of their last five matches in the league but the 55-year-old wants his team to not take them lightly.
“You have to always expect the best version of the opponent. If during the game we play very well or they are not at their best, they don’t have their best game, better for us. But you have to be prepared for every game,” he said.
Although Marquez wants his team to lift the Shield, he believes that the other teams close to them on the table, all share the same motive.
“We can say that our target is to win the Shield. But we know that this is the same target for Mumbai City FC, for Odisha FC, for Mohun Bagan SG, and for Kerala Blasters FC,” he said.
Left-back Jay Gupta accompanied the head coach to the press conference. The 22-year-old has contributed two goals and two assists so far this season for the Gaurs, establishing himself as their most reliable left-back.
Gupta had spent a significant amount of time playing in Europe before signing for FC Goa. Justifying his return to India, the youngster spoke about his desire to contribute to his country.
“One of the big reasons that I came back to India from Europe was because I wanted to contribute something to my nation and, I think, to every youngster that wants anything in this country, playing football, would be to get into that World Cup stage. So, yeah, keep working for that,” he shared.
Sharing his excitement to face off with the Green and Maroon for their third battle of the season, the defender said, “I think, playing them twice already, we have our plans intact, and we know what we have to do, and we know what we have to avoid,” he said.
“Obviously playing them twice and winning one of those games has been a big advantage for us to know what works and what doesn’t. So we’re going to be doing that and sticking to what the coach wants and hopefully, grind it out till the 90-95 minutes and get the win,” Gupta concluded.

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