ISL 7: Need to improve on all aspects of the game, says Odisha coach Baxter

ANI
·3-min read
Odisha FC coach Stuart Baxter (Photo/ Odisha FC)
Odisha FC coach Stuart Baxter (Photo/ Odisha FC)

Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], November 28 (ANI): Odisha FC is all set to face Jamshedpur FC in their second game of the ongoing season of the Indian Super League (ISL) on Sunday. Both the teams had lost their respective first games and will like to get on to a winning track and Odisha's head coach Stuart Baxter has also made his intentions clear on the eve of the crucial encounter.

Speaking during the pre-match press conference, the 67-year-old gaffer explained: "We need to improve on all aspects of the game. Not just based on the last game but based on the fact that I have had probably 14 sessions with the team. There was all good work being done before I came but we knew there are areas that still we needed to work on. Now, a new voice means maybe a little bit of motivation but it also means a new message."

Odisha didn't have a great outing in their first game against Hyderabad FC in Bambolim and they had to suffer a 0-1 defeat. Baxter also explained the playing style and formation that he used in the previous game where he had to play without some of the important players like Vinit Rai, Cole Alexander, Jacob Tratt, and Jerry Mawihmingthanga.

"If you look at the possession in general then it was long away from what we wanted to be. Tactically, the balance was wrong. We ended up being very separated. We couldn't get support from the front players. The midfield players were a bit too deep. And then mentally, whether it was the first game of the season or the young players were nervous or it was just the balance of the team that prevented it, we weren't very brave within that balance, we weren't very brave with the ball in taking great responsibilities," said Baxter.

"There will be changes of players in positions because of the opponent. With Jerry injured, we have no real direct replacements so we tweaked a little bit and played Manuel (Onwu) not on the wing, he wasn't on the wing but in the pocket giving Diego (Mauricio) very quick support. Manuel himself asked me about playing in that role because he has played it before and he is conscientious in his defending. So we looked at it and Manuel was the best solution we had. We wanted him to be closer to Diego, closer to Marcelinho and make that front three," he added.

Odisha have a very strong defensive line with the likes of Steven Taylor and Jacob Tratt in the squad along with some top-quality Indian youngsters like Shubham Sarangi, Hendry Antonay, and Gaurav Bora. However, Australian centre-back Tratt didn't start in the previous game due to an injury and their defence looked a bit lacklustre as well.

"The availability of Jacob is still a little bit of a question mark. I have to say, I think that when you lose 1-0 and you give away a very bad transition and it ends up in a penalty then defending is not the first problem I want to look at. I want to look at our possession, I want to look at how we open the field up, how we go support our front players, and how often we penetrate; that would be my first look. But, we can defend with more personality and more control and more domination," said Baxter. (ANI)