Girona clinched the La Liga World Tournament trophy by beating Kerala Blasters 5-0 in the third and final match of the competition at the JLN Stadium, Kochi on Saturday.
The Spanish side, which finished 10th in the La Liga last season, had a cakewalk in the tournament as they scored 11 goals in two matches and did not concede a single goal. They had defeated Melbourne City FC on Friday.
After a disappointing performance against Melbourne City where they haplessly surrendered, Kerala Blasters showcased a much better performance against the Spaniards. But unfortunately, the difference in the standard of the two sides was too much.
Blasters had managed to hold Girona for the first 43 minutes of the match. But in the second half, Girona were just too hot to handle for the Indian Super League side (ISL).
When asked if the two friendly matches have highlighted the difference in the quality of Indian clubs and foreign sides, coach David James said, “Girona are a La Liga side and the league is one of the best leagues in the world. They are capable of beating teams from outside the top four leagues in the world.
“Players are getting a chance to play against players in one of the best leagues in the world. There was a lot of pride at stake after the last two games.”
Girona played their fourth pre-season friendly match today in the last eight days. They had played against Bolton Wanderers and Oldham FC before coming to India.
When asked if the fitness level of his side affected the match, James opined, “We were very disciplined in what we set out to do. They changed players who would normally start. Fitness could have been a concern for them. We were much more disciplined, we looked fitter and a lot more organized. If that is the indication of what we are capable of, then we are very happy as a manager. We go forward in pre-season with confidence.”
The English coach clarified why he did not field two new recruits Jithin MS and Afdal VK. He said, “They were on the bench. But this is not a charity. Some of the players weren't in the required state physically. I am not saying they didn't try.
“We're not going to win the ISL by beating Girona. It is important that our progress is steady ahead of ISL.”