PANAJI: Heading into the 10th game of the Hero ISL season against Chennaiyin FC, Derrick Pereira sees his FC Goa side stranded in 9th on the table with only 2 wins to their name from the opening 9 games. He has only been in charge of the Gaurs for the past three games. The former Indian international, though, fully understands that if FC Goa are to make the playoffs for the fifth season running, it’s time for the Gaurs to make a move.

Speaking at the pre-match press conference ahead of the clash against the Marina Machans, Pereira said: “From now onwards, it’s do-or-die for us. We have to go for all three points. We have to plan in such a way that we go for the maximum.

“I have been told good things from other coaches about the team. The standing doesn’t truly reflect the way we have played over the past few games. We need to continue in the same vein and have belief in ourselves.”

Lady luck hasn’t been kind on the Gaurs so far this season, especially players playing up front. Brandon Fernandes is yet to appear in the colours of the club after picking up an injury during his time with the Indian national team ahead of the season.

Jorge Ortiz missed a significant part of the pre-season owing to an injury he picked up during the Durand Cup. Meanwhile, an injury sustained during a pre-season fixture saw Muhammed Nemil miss the beginning of the season after a wonderful Durand Cup campaign to begin his stint with FC Goa.

“Injuries and suspensions, especially to players playing up front have been tough on us and a big reason why we have only scored 13 goals in our 9 matches,” elaborated Pereira.

“Over the last 3-4 games, we have been able to name more or less the same squad. Since we have got them back, we have to look to build an understanding amongst them and create more opportunities.

“A good win, I believe, will give us the confidence and motivation to do well in the remaining games.”

In Chennaiyin, the Gaurs face a team which has the opportunity to go to top of the table with all three points from the game. Božidar Bandović’s men started the campaign with a bang but have found consistency hard to get in their recent games.

The Blues have won two and lost three of their last five games. However, a win against Jamshedpur in their last game should come as a timely shot in the arm for Chennaiyin.

“Every team brings a whole new challenge for us,” stated Pereira ahead of the game. “With Chennai, we have seen how they play and it has been effective for them. They are a compact team and we have to seek out a plan to get the better of them.”


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