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Odisha FC's Josep Gombau - Manuel Onwu showing that he is a very good player

20:05 EAT 08/02/2020
ATK vs Odisha FC
The Spanish coach is still hopeful of making it to the play-offs despite suffering a defeat in Kolkata...

Odisha FC succumbed to a 3-1 defeat to ATK on Saturday in Kolkata with Roy Krishna being the star of the evening with a fine hat-trick. Coach Josep Gombau was understandably disappointed with the defeat but suggested that they will continue to fight for the play-offs spot.

“I think the first half we did quite well. The game was very equal. Both teams had no chances. But in the second half, we conceded from a set-piece, four minutes into the second half. After that, we had to try attack because of our situation.

“We pressed higher and in the transitions, they scored the second and third goals. After that, we got affected psychologically. We tried to make changes and attack more. I think we did quite well in the last 10 minutes or so. When you play against very good teams like ATK, Goa or Bengaluru, they have the quality to punish you when you make mistakes. We need to keep working and have two more games to go as it’s mathematically still possible to qualify."

Gombau pointed that the experienced players in ATK made the difference on the night. However, he expressed his satisfaction with the progress his young players are making.

“Normally when you have top quality players, it’s easier to win. From the bottom of my heart, I’m happy with my players as everybody brings everything. We have a very young squad and ATK have more experienced players. At half-time, I knew this game would be decided by the smaller details. But I’m satisfied with what I have. As a coach, you want to win as it’s important. But also I need to see how my players are improving. I’m happy with them. I thought they showed character.”

When asked if Aridane Santana’s injury affected his team's chance to make it into the top four, Gombau mentioned that they signed a quality replacement in Manuel Onwu. The Spaniard struggled during his stint with Bengaluru FC where he didn't score a single goal in 371 minutes of football.

"No, I think that Manuel (Onwu) came as Aridane (Santana) was injured. We can’t complain with Manuel as he scored three goals in two games. I think for a player who came in the last minute of the market, he’s showing everyone that he’s a very good player.”