The attacking midfielder is looking forward to bettering his numbers from last season…
FC Goa‘s ace midfielder Brandon Fernandes is looking forward to playing under the new head coach Juan Ferrando. Brandon had flourished in the Indian Super League (ISL) under Ferrando’s predecessor Sergio Lobera but now will be looking to continue that form under Ferrando.
“I feel that it’s going to be interesting with the new coach,” Brandon Fernandes told Goal.
“He (Ferrando) has had a very good experience in Greece and he seems to be a very experienced coach. Like he said recently as well, he won’t change much (at FC Goa) and he wants to win. So as a player, for me, I have to give my hundred per cent. Whenever he watches me, I have to show him that I can be in the first 11.”
Brandon has been tipped as one of the best midfielders in the country and the 25-year-old is keen to continue his upturn in form. The numbers have shown his immense rise at the Gaurs.
In his first year at the club, from 15 appearances, he recorded 18 crosses and 548 passes that accounted for four assists. In season 2018-19, he made 18 appearances to muster 37 crosses and 725 passes to register four assists besides scoring thrice. The tally has since risen to 49 crosses and 902 passes from 17 appearances in the last season where he became the highest Indian assist provider (7) and third overall.
“I have to improve everyday. Last season is the past. I did well, I had a great season but that is not the end. I have to be better every season. I just want to keep climbing. For example, last season I had seven assists and two goals. So the next season I want to add to that and not be happy with what I did last season. I will definitely work hard and grasp everything that he (Ferrando) teaches me,” Fernandes added.
It must be noted that staying injury free since his stint at Churchill Brothers in 2017 has been one of the major factors behind Brandon’s emergence. Before that season, Brandon was always troubled by injuries. He had injury-ridden stints Sporting Clube de Goa and Mumbai City FC before that. But the season with Churchill is where it all started to turn around for him.
“The worst thing a player can go through is injury. When you are injured you cannot play. The most important important thing for a player is to play matches. If you don’t play regularly then you cannot perform.
“I give credit to the physios and the physical trainers. They set up training sessions for us and they know how much load to put on us through the exercises. I have been with FC Goa for three years and the doctors, physios and physical trainers have helped me a lot. I also try to eat as much healthy food as possible and stay properly hydrated,” he stated.
Meanwhile, at the national team front, Brandon feels that fans need to be patient to witness the improvements in the Blue Tigers’ playing style that Igor Stimac has brought about.
“It is a process and you cannot change it overnight. Igor Stimac has brought a new style and a new system. So we need to play a lot more matches. We were supposed to have a camp now and play our (2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup joint) qualifiers but unfortunately we couldn’t (due to the Coronavirus pandemic),” he mentioned.
“If we have more time together it will be better for us. When we play international matches, the level is different. We need to train with that scenario and that intensity. With more time with the coach, I think we will eventually get the results. We need to play good teams and not against teams that are lower ranked than us. We need to challenge ourselves by playing good teams and see where we stand.”
FC Goa are set to become the first Indian team to representing the country in the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Champions League group stage after topping the regular season of the Indian Super League (ISL).
“It will be a great exposure for us and we will be playing against some of the best teams in Asia. It will be a big, big challenge for us and we know that we are a good team. We need to work hard and try to get some good results. When the time comes, we have to prepare well and give our best,” Fernandes professed.