IN A TWO PART SERIES, Bobby Martins - TFG had the opportunity to interact with the ISL’s youngest and talented coach Sergio Lobera who has performed quiet an impressive job at FC Goa with what is relatively an even younger playing squad. They have won many plaudits and its share of admirers around the league with its adventurous brand of passing and attacking style of football borne through a excellent vision and training methodologies of Lobera.
Lobera gave a unique insight into his personal experiences so far in the league, how he approaches his preparations, and dealing with the challenges.
Find below the excerpts from the same.
Your style of passing and possession football is still very much a new approach in Indian Football. Its takes teams few years to perfect it, so how did you manage to achieve that level given the relatively shorter time and new set of players that you had?
Well there are lots of important things to consider. First I would say is to have the ideal profile of players to be able to develop this type of football. I believe I have a good profile of players and they are comfortable playing in this manner. Second it’s extremely important that the team believes in this idea and in the way of playing. So far I guess we have achieved that, I feel that the entire team believe that our way of playing is what make us strong and it enable us to reach positive results. Having the vision and enjoying the type of football with varied combinations and people around who believe and support us gives us confidence. It was a very short period of time and we need improvements in certain areas, as a better defensive balance and passes however I’m happy with the progress we have made so far and I believe our best is still about to come.
There are Coaches who are loyal to their philosophy and have their teams set up to it regardless while other Coaches will set a style of play based on their players limitations or strengths. What type of Coach would you classify yourself?
I’m a coach who believes that the main target is to get the best of my team therefore we have to play in a way that the team feels stronger and is able to achieve positive results. Instead of focusing mainly on the opponent, even though it’s still important to analyse the opponent and notice their strength and weakness I believe in keeping our vision. I would say I’m more concerned about improving my own team than focusing on opponents
Teams like Arsenal and Barcelona were successful very early on as they invested in their development/junior teams by having their coaches follow the same methods that the First Team follows. So when these players make the step up, they are already well versed with what they need to do. Do you have similar plans at FC Goa given you have a 2 year contract?
I feel it’s important. Not so much from a perspective of football tactics but the idea/vision behind football as we are trying to implement this playing style in the secondary and base teams and it is gradually getting implanted within which is very positive as the future of the football club depends on players coming from grassroots they are our long term projects. The main idea is to form/develop grassroots players who understand this philosophy, style and idea.
How do you deal with a situation where a player who has committed individual errorsis under pressure and short of confidence? Do you have 1 on 1sessionsby going through game film, motivational talks etc?
By re-assuring his confidence. Confidence doesn’t get reassured only with words but with attitudes as well. When a player plays in a certain manner following the coach request then he is selflessly assuming risks for himself taking the team as bigger priority over his own performance. In case he makes a mistake thinking more about the team than his own performance we need to reinforce his self-esteem, confidence and keep the player devoted to the team. If a player makes a mistake and the coach puts him in a delicate situation, he will start thinking more about himself than the team and won’t perform the way it is more positive for the team as requested by the coach.
Now that you have had sufficient time with the team and games in the ISL, what are your expectations from the team going forward?
Our targets are to keep improving, achieving positive results and success. Goa had a difficult previous season, now we have to try to recover the confidence people have on us.I feel we are managing to do that. We have to keep consistence results to reach the top of the list.
Can they win the League this year?
The league is very balanced this year, small details will play an important part in the decision of the league. We are not giving up on anything. We don’t have pressure as other teams are facing, we do wish win and we will work hard for that. We still have a lot of matches ahead and will approach playing each game at the time.
In the next part, Lobera shares his inspiration as a Coach, his views on the league and local talent.