ISL 2018-19: Delhi Dynamos' Josep Gombau - I like that we have a lot of young players

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Josep Gombau
Delhi Dynamos coach Josep Gombau would like to see seven Indian players in the first team in ISL...

Delhi Dynamos head coach Josep Gombau expressed his satisfaction with the squad at his disposal ahead of the fifth season of Indian Super League (ISL).

The Lions host FC Pune City, who are coached by their former coach Miguel Angel Portugal, on Wednesday. 

"The team is ready. We have been working for the last six weeks. We trained in Kolkata and then went to Doha and after that, two weeks here in Delhi. I think we are ready to play these type of games. We are looking forward to the match and are hoping to play a good game,"  said Gombau, who replaced Portugal at Delhi Dynamos in the summer. 

The new gaffer feels that he can make good use of the Indian talent in the squad. The club has also roped in experienced ISL campaigners such as Rene Mihelic and Marcos Tebar. 

"I think we have a good pool of Indian players in the squad. Something that I like a lot is that we have a lot of young players. It is good because they are hungry and want to succeed. They want to achieve something big," said the Spanish coach. "I think we have five players playing for India U-23." 

Delhi Dynamos ISL 2018-19

"To have players like Marcos Tebar and Rene Mihelic, who have a lot of experience playing in ISL, is very important. Sometimes an overseas player can be a very good player but can take too much time to settle. Sometimes players don't adapt to the competition."

Delhi Dynamos kick-started and concluded their 2017-18 ISL season with fixtures against FC Pune City. They won 3-2 away from home and were held 2-2 at home. Despite an eighth-placed finish, The Lions ended the season relatively well after a poor first half. 

"The first game is always difficult for everybody. There are high expectations for the first game. I expect the team to play the football that we are working on in every training session. I hope we can do well and of course, win the game.," began Gombau.

"This season is a new season. What happened last season, we cannot control. I think we changed about 14 players and the coach. It is good to take notes on what happened last year but every year is different and I hope this year, we can start in a good way.

"It is true that the team finished the season very well. This means that the team, after the good work by the coach, picked up the style of play and the team ended the season well. I hope we can take the momentum from last season and keep going. 

"I cannot measure last season because I was not here. I am happy with the squad I have now."

The coach also feels Kalu Uche's departure will not hurt the team as they have goalscorers who can replace the striker. 

Kalu Uche Delhi Dynamos FC Chennaiyin FC ISL 4 2017/2018

"Kalu Uche did a good job last season but he left. But we have a lot of players who can score goals and I think we can do a good job this season."

The Spaniard also touched upon the foreign player rule in the league and opined that local players should be given chances to develop Indian football. 

"I have watched the league when I was in Australia. I think the competition is good and the league is improving every year. 

"I have worked in different countries in Asia. I was in Hong Kong and the rule was exactly the same - six local players and five foreigners. After that they changed to four foreigners and one Asian. In Australia also, it was five foreigners. 

"In my opinion, if the country wants to develop, I think it is better to have one more local player. (seven Indians + four foreigners). These kids are important for the future. India has a lot of population and can be a very strong (footballing) nation if it works well with the kids."

Gombau also shared the reason for his switch to India. "I was following the league and I found it interesting. ISL did a lot in just five years. It has (generated) a lot of interest in Asia and Europe. ISL has potential."