FC Goa’s Robert Pires stated that his side are ready to face the Atletico de Kolkata challenge in the first leg of the Indian Super League (ISL) semi-final at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata on Sunday evening.
“If Atletico de Kolkata team has to win, it is important that they score. But if FC Goa wins tomorrow, it’s definitely an advantage. But I repeat, we are well prepared, we are strong and we are ready to defend and ready to score,” he said.
The Goan outfit haven’t lost a single game in their last eight outings and have conceded just three goals in the process. This was after having endured one of the worst starts in the ISL as they were lying at the bottom of the table.
“It is true that we had a difficult start. The most important target for the team first was to qualify for the semi finals and we have reached the semifinals. The whole team is very happy and confident and we are ready for the match tomorrow,” he mentioned.
The 41-year old was involved in a fracas with Antonio Habas when the two teams met in Goa which resulted in him, the Atletico coach and Fikru Tefera being suspended for two games each.
Pires wished to put the incident behind and focus on the semi-finals. He also praised some of the Goan team’s youngsters.
“I don’t like the word revenge. It is not right to discuss now what happened with the Atletico de Kolkata team manager. The most important thing now is the semifinal match and the most important thing for my team is to go to Mumbai for the finals.
“I am really impressed with players like Romeo Fernandes, Mandar Rao Dessai, Narayan Das who have a great future,” he opined.
The former Arsenal winger expressed his love for the game and added that it is the sole motivation for him to continue playing at his age.
“I hope so. It depends on the team, not on me. I am ready and I love football. I have deep passion for football. For me this is a great and important opportunity. I love the country and the people here. I love trying new food. For me, India is truly incredible,” he replied when asked if he would comeback once again for ISL’s second season.