Sergio Lobera hopes to bring Barcelona flavour to FC Goa in Indian Super League | football | Hindustan Times
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Sergio Lobera hopes to bring Barcelona flavour to FC Goa in Indian Super League

Sergio Lobera honed his coaching skills at FC Barcelona, and will hope to implement an attractive brand of football at current club FC Goa in the Indian Super League

football Updated: Nov 14, 2017 19:23 IST
Sarthak Bal
Sergio Lobera has replaced Zico as the head coach of FC Goa in Indian Super League.
Sergio Lobera has replaced Zico as the head coach of FC Goa in Indian Super League.(FC Goa)

FC Goa’s new coach Sergio Lobera, whose 16-year-old managerial career has brought him to the shores of India for the fourth edition of the Indian Super League, opened up about his time at FC Barcelona, which will, in some sense, shape FC Goa’s style of play this season.

Lobera, who had joined the Catalan giants in 1997, was appointed as the coach of the Barcelona ‘C’ team after spending several years with the youth players of Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy. Notably, he also served as Tito Vilanova’s assistant after the latter took over from Pep Guardiola in 2012.

“Having spent eight years at Barcelona, there is a particular style of play you pick up on. I’m not Luis Enrique, Erensto Valverde or Pep Guardiola and nor do I have Lionel Messi or Andres Iniesta at my disposal. We are different coaches and we adapt to the circumstances in front of us,” said Lobera, putting in perspective the possibility of becoming ISL’s own version of Barcelona.

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Lobera’s description of the type of football we can expect from his FC Goa ticks every box corresponding to Barcelona’s possession-based game. Another factor indicative of the same is that six of FC Goa’s eight international recruits are Spaniards.

“My aim is to play direct and get short the passes going. I want to maintain possession and try to win back the ball as soon as we are dispossessed. I would like the players remain as close to the opposition’s goal as possible. While results do matter, we want to exhibit a certain style of play (sic),” said Lobera, who wishes to send every Goan fan home happy and content with the style of football.

Lobera also highlighted the enthusiasm of FC Goa’s Indian players in taking to this new Spanish flavour that will most likely dictate FC Goa’s style of play after Zico’s departure.

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“The Indian players in particular are very open to the idea of taking to the new philosophy. They are very enthusiastic about learning,” said the former Las Palmas manager.

When asked to point out key players in his setup this term, Lobera declared that every player in his squad will have to earn his place in the starting eleven.

“I do not want to pick out on any individual players as such. We don’t want to make comparisons between Indian and foreign players. Everyone is important but no one is droppable either (sic),” said Lobera.

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Pep’s managerial instinct

At Barcelona, Lobera had the opportunity to work with the likes of Pep Guardiola, Tito Vilanova, Frank Rijkaard and Louis Van Gaal.

In fact, Guardiola’s meteoric rise to become one of the best football managers of this era was something that Lobera had foreseen and, in some sense, overseen as well. The current Manchester City coach, alongside Luis Enrique and Jordi Cruyff, had interned under Lobera in 2005/06, seeking their licenses as a football coaches.

“Pep Guardiola did his internship under me when I was a coach at Barcelona. Sharing the dressing room with Guardiola, I learnt a lot from him as well,” Lobera revealed.

“But, even when he was a player, you could tell automatically that he was already thinking as a manager. He had all these ideas and concepts running in his head. You could see that when he was talking to young players that this guy (Pep) was onto something and would become great one day (sic),” ended Lobera.