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ISL 2018-19: Sergio Lobera - Table doesn't reflect Pune City's potential

4:58 PM GMT+4 27/10/2018
Sergio Lobera FC Goa ISL 4 2017/2018
Despite scoring five in their last game, the Spaniard doesn't think the Gaurs can be tagged as favourites against the bottom-placed side...

High-flying FC Goa topped the 2018-19 Indian Super League (ISL) table after three rounds. A visit by FC Pune City, placed at the opposite end of the table next, head coach Sergio Lobera sees no reason as to why it would be an easy three points for his team.

"I sincerely don't think that we are favourites. If you are not going to be 100 per cent, you're not going to win the game tomorrow," he said on the eve of the clash on Sunday.

"I don't think the table reflects the potential that Pune have as a team. They are a great team and I'm pretty sure they will be fighting for the title. Tomorrow's game is a tough one," he expressed with the Maharashtra outfit having sacked manager Miguel Angel Portugal only three games into the season.

Having already scored ten goals in three games, with half of them coming against Mumbai City alone, the Gaurs lead the goalscoring charts. The Spaniard felt there is always room for improvement.

"I think for a coach, what's most important is what reflects on the pitch. It's not easy to say something here than what reflects on the pitch. I think the numbers that we have is because of the attacking ability of the team and what we have done so far is the indication of that."

He added, "But again, as a coach, you always have to improve on certain things and defense is something that we are looking to improve this season. We are already getting there, but the idea is to keep improving and to keep doing that."

Questions regarding his displeasure with his widemen were dispelled pretty quickly. "The style of play that we deploy is where the fullbacks play more on the wings and the wingers that we have are always going through the middle.

"If you look at the second goal (against Mumbai City), it was Seriton (Fernandes) who crossed the ball and it was Jacki (Jackichand Singh) who appeared in the middle.

"Again, it's the collective effort of the team that we need to evaluate and understand how things are going well. I think we are just as strong from the flanks as we are from the centre. It's just that a lot of our wide players also play through the centre, it may seem like that," he reasoned.

The former Barcelona 'C' coach felt no point in relishing past performances and the game against Pune City would be imperative to build on their good form. "If you feel proud about what you've done in the past and you don't focus on the future, that would be the gravest mistake because football is all about the present.

"There is a lot of quality among the teams and as a result of that, we have seen a lot of draws this year. Each game is different and what have done in the past does not have to condition what we will be doing in the next game.

"The game against Pune will be very difficult and we have to focus on how we are going to play tomorrow," he stated.

On being asked about Moroccan playmaker Hugo Boumous' value to his setup, he replied, "I don't like to speak about individual players. What I like to work on is the team collectively and how the team is functioning as a whole.

"With regards to Boumous, much like for everybody else in the team, it's there for everybody to see how he's performing this season."