BY ANSELM NORONHA Follow @apnoronha on twitter
After attending the first module of the Pro-License coaching course in Mumbai, Arthur Papas has been rigorously preparing Dempo SC for the upcoming season.
The Australian tactician has chosen not to play any friendly games against other teams in the pre-season.
"In any normal pre-season, the first two-to-three weeks are very important and we preferred not to play any practice matches against any opposition because the risks of injuries are high," he reasoned in a conversation with GOAL.
"The only issue is that the Goa League game start from the 5th [of August], but I'm treating that game as an important one. Everyone has been very positive. The intention is very good from everyone. It's about getting to know each other as well, me learning about their qualities and obviously them understanding the type of game and training that I expect for them," he continued.
"At the moment we're working very well and we just need to keep improving. That's going to happen for the rest of the year. Whenever we feel comfortable, we always want to be improving."
Coaching in another direction...The mantra of Papas in his stint at Pailan Arrows was of performance over results. However at Dempo SC, he has the task of taking the club back to winning trophies as they missed out on all fronts last season.
"I always believe that performance, in the long term, will justify the results. So it's no different [at Dempo]. The results of Arrows improved last year - based on an improved performance, there was an improvement in results," he maintained. "We've got a process in place where we want to be as successful as possible in the short term, but we're trying to build something in the long term."
Talking about the long term plans for his current side, Papas added, "There are a lot of young players involved. That's important for Dempo and Indian football as well - that we develop a lot of our younger players and improve the professionalism. Part of what we are looking for is a long term result for the club."
While there was no pressure of getting relegated with Pailan Arrows, who were immune toit, Dempo have been one of the most successful Indian clubs in recent times. Papas however refuses to accept that he feels the weight of leading a club of that kind of stature.
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"The only pressure you put is the pressure on yourself, if you want to be as good as possible. I don't really feel that to be honest. I understand that I have joined a club with a rich history, but we're working on also what's happened over the last 12 months as well," he observed.
Elaborating further, he stated, "We (Dempo) have changed a lot of the squad over. The average age has been dropped by a few years if you look at the starting 11 at the moment. But, of course, you want that pressure anyway and we all got to accept that we have to work at our best level to gain success again for this club."
"We're still learning about players in our group - what their qualities are and then making sure that we play a game based on their qualities. The league is improving a lot. We got to be at our best to be successful and others can judge what success means at the end [of the season] and we have our own way of judging it," he concluded.
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