FC Goa will be playing their last fixture ahead of the winter break when they host NorthEast United at the Fatorda Stadium in Goa, on Friday.
The Gaurs have not been as prolific in their recent matches as they have been at the beginning of the season. In fact, though they are leading the charts for the number of goals scored (22) so far, the Goans have only scored once after the last international break.
"Fundamentally, we haven't been scoring a lot of goals (in the last three games). We need to learn and improve from our mistakes and it needs to serve us a lesson for the rest of our games," said the team's head coach Sergio Lobera.
After winning four games from their first five matches, Goa only won two out of their last 10 fixtures last year. Having suffered their third defeat of the ongoing campaign with a 2-0 loss against FC Pune City, the former Barcelona assistant shrugged off suggestions that Goa could repeat last season's spell.
"It's different situations, different teams in different seasons. I don't think what happened last year at this point of the season has much in common in terms of what has happened (this season). We are in a league where not a single game is easy and even the tiniest detail can make a big difference.
"Ultimately, when you win, the whole world is happy. As a coach, regardless of whether you win, lose or draw, you have to analyse the game. For me, in the game against Kolkata (ATK), we performed better than we did against Delhi (Dynamos) at home. Obviously, we didn't get the penalty (against ATK), which would have changed the result of the game.
"So, therefore, for us, we need to work on the details for which we have to depend on ourselves. The ones that we cannot control is not something that we can work upon," Lobera continued to explain how refereeing has hurt his team.
"In the other games as well, you could see that there were clear errors made in terms of the refereeing aspect. In ours as well, there were a few penalties that went against us. So ultimately, we need to work on the things that we can control and leave the rest to the others," he opined.
Asked whether he feels FC Goa need defensive reinforcements in the upcoming January transfer window, Lobera shifted the focus to his team's attack instead.
"I think we have made a lot of mistakes in front of goal in chances where we should have actually been scoring. In the last game, we had quite a few chances but we didn't take advantage of them. These errors are obviously not seen in as such a bad light than the errors that the defenders commit. At the back, when you make a mistake, everyone is critical of the situation. When the same mistakes in a different situation happen to be in attack, it is not seen in the same light.
"What worries me more is the fact that we have only scored once in the last three games rather than how many we have conceded," he stressed.
In retrospect to losing Ahmed Jahouh on account of the Moroccan midfielder picking his fourth yellow card in the last game, the 41-year-old replied, "A team that is inspiring to do great things cannot depend on a single player. It is true that Jahouh is a very important player for us, but the team has to always overcome individual capabilities."
The club's star striker Ferran Corominas has not found the back of the net in the last three games, but it's something that doesn't leave the gaffer perturbed.
"I don't think it's just Coro, or Jahouh or the centre-backs. When a team is doing, obviously all the individuals shine. When a team is not doing well, it's not the same effect it has on individuals.
"Coro is an important player for us, not just because he has scored eight goals but also because he has five assists. If you look at the list of players who have scored goals and assisted in that manner, I don't think there are many," Lobera quipped.
And with Friday's tie going to be the last one before entering the league's third break, the FC Goa head coach stated, "It's a very important game for us. Winning this game will allow us to go in the Christmas break on third position having played one game less than the rest with the exception of Bengaluru."