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Derrick Pereira: Players’ health the most important at the moment

Derrick Pereira saw his men spurn opportunities and the referee dole out some rather questionable calls as FC Goa had to settle for a draw in their previous game against NorthEast United despite looking the more dominant of the two sides. While results still are important for any club, the bio-bubble and break of COVID-19 cases inside them means the priorities take a small shift.

“I have told this time and again before, the circumstances under which we are operating are tough. The only times most players are getting out of their rooms is to either go to the training or for a game,” stated Pereira ahead of the game against SC East Bengal.

“It’s not up to me to decide whether we should postpone the league or carry on. What we can care for are our players. The health of everyone in this organisation is important and that’s the most important thing.

“If it’s safe to play, we carry on. Otherwise the people in charge should be able to make a decision on it because it’s important to take care of each and everyone’s health.

“What I would like to add to this is that I am both happy and confident with the team. Whoever went in, performed to the best of their abilities and gave their all. We all saw how good they were despite all the challenges that we have had to face.”

Everyone wants to go back to normal

The last two seasons of the Hero ISL have been played inside a bio-bubble with the COVID 19 pandemic throwing up challenges every single day in terms of the health and safety of all stakeholders. However, after two seasons of playing behind closed doors, there seems to be a yearning towards getting back to normal, especially with football leagues around the world being conducted in front of full capacity stadiums.

“I would always like to get back to the old times, the normal times as we say,” remarked Pereira on the subject. “Football is nothing without the fans. We have some of the most fantastic fans and we would like to get back to playing in front of them as soon as possible.”

The task ahead

SC East Bengal might be rooted to the bottom of the table. However, recent form shows that the Red and Gold are slowly but surely turning the corner.

Speaking on FC Goa’s opponents on Wednesday night, Pereira added, “The last three matches we have seen them play, they have improved a lot. They have a fighting spirit in them despite being at the bottom. They are sure to play for their pride.

“We have to look at the details of our own teams, though, instead of looking at them – where can we get better, how to break their backline and at the same time keep it balanced to counter their attacks.

“We go into the game positive. We have to have a plan and get the best result.”

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