ISL: FC Goa players always on new coach Ferrando's mind during lockdown

Juan Ferrando, newly-appointed FC Goa coach, is spending his time watching and analysing ISL matches at his home in Barcelona during the lockdown.

FC Goa's newly-appointed coach Juan Ferrando is hopeful the club can sort out the contracts of its foreign players by August or September.   -  special arrangement

For Juan Ferrando, the newly-appointed FC Goa coach, it is not an ideal situation to prepare for his job amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Catalan, from his home in Barcelona, is currently devising individual training programs, and analysing the team’s previous matches, the opponents and the referees of the Indian Super League ahead of his arrival in Goa.

"Apart from the couple of hours that I try to forget about football, I am always thinking about programs, training and the players, and what I could do to change about the club," says the former Volos FC coach.

In a teleconference with the media on Monday, Ferrando, who has a PhD in Sports Sciences, placed emphasis on attention to detail in his approach to coaching. He claimed that his belief in being open-minded and to continue learning about the game paved his path to India. Before he made his breakthrough as a first-team coach, Ferrando spent his years outside Spain and observed from the best football minds in the business.

"I love football. At Arsenal, I worked as a physical trainer and it was a good experience to learn about Arsene Wenger. That’s the real situation, seeing how he prepares for the big Champions League games. For example, when I was with Gustavo[Gus Poyet] at Brighton, it was a time to learn the details and how to control the dressing room," he said.

Attention to detail is a key feature of Ferrando's coaching style as he plans to brings new elements of the game to the Indian Super League.   -  special arrangement

 

Ferrando takes over from a coach, under whom the club scored 128 goals in 60 matches. His predecessor and compatriot Sergio Lobera preached a relentless offensive brand of football which, at times, left the team vulnerable in defensive transitions. Ferrando, on the other hand, speaks of being adaptive to situations, while not changing too much of what is already in place at the club.

"Sometimes it's necessary to be safe to protect the ball. Sometimes it's important to attack the space against a team with a high defensive line. If the opponent has 10 players in front of us, we need to work on positional attack. I want Goa to play in different ways depending on situations and moments of the game. I don’t want to stick to one model. Within the large model, all the players have different solutions to the problems," he said.

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Upon his appointment in 2017 at Volos, Ferrando took the club from the third tier of Greek football to the top division in successive seasons. He singled out the importance of a ‘perfect dressing room’ created between the young and the experienced players in the club’s success. And he aims to recreate the similar harmony at Goa upon his arrival.

"It’s important for everybody to enjoy. For example, if some players are not happy or not enjoying the training, then it’s a sign of a problem. With my experience I have in different countries, I am trying to find exercises to make training enjoyable for the players. I am not strict like the Russian or the Serbian coaches. Through these exercises, the players need to be freed and to make them feel free to take decisions on the pitch," he said.

Amid the uncertain times ahead, Ferrando has to chart the course for Goa’s debut in the AFC Champions League next year, where the club will have to adopt a ‘3+1’ foreign player rule. Frenchman Hugo Boumous is the only foreigner contracted with the club beyond May and while Spaniard Edu Bedia is likely to extend his stay, Ferrando is keen to finalise his foreign player quota before pre-season.

"It’s important to talk to the Director of Football and take a decision on the best players. We need the best foreign players to help the other players in the team. I hope by August-September we will close the squad and we can start our work," he said.

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