In a latest media interview, Spaniards Aitor (Midfielder) and David (Forward) talked about preseason training sessions, learning and growing under Owen Coyle and more.
Here are the excerpts from the interview:
On the youngsters from TFA who have joined the senior squad
Aitor: They are such hard workers with so much hunger and energy to prove themselves in every way. We need players like that and I am very happy they are part of our squad. I hope the academy keeps grooming and producing more and more such talented footballers.
On the new norms implemented due to the pandemic and how will it affect the gameplay
Aitor: Obviously this season is going to be very different and we need to adapt very quickly to our new circumstances. I just finished my quarantine period and I am back to the training ground. All I can say is that despite the bio-bubble, the new protocols, we are all working very hard to give our 100% this season and we have to keep pushing ourselves in the preseason training sessions to make that happen because we were all under complete lockdown and movement restrictions for months. So, we are getting there with every successful practice session.
David: We are working hard to give our all under the new circumstances. We have a very good coach and great players in the squad so we are all practicing and hoping to have a good season.
On the kind of target set for the season
Aitor: I want to change the destiny of the club this season. I want to help us qualify for the playoffs. I want us to reach the top 4 because that is something that has never happened in the history of the club. Once we achieve those targets, we can take up the rest of the season one match at a time.
David: Reaching the playoffs is the ultimate target for the season and hopefully we will. We have good leadership and we have a strong team.
On the addition of Owen Coyle and Valskis into the squad
Aitor: They are a fantastic addition to the team. Owen Coyle has so much intensity and passion in him and that radiates throughout our training sessions and boosts our morale so much. That is something we all need. Valskis too is a strong addition. He is a superb striker and I have no doubt he will prove to be an asset to the club.
On the kind of role that has been set for them this season
David: My job is to score as many goals as possible and help my fellow strikers achieve the same so that's pretty much how this season will be approached. Valskis and I have a good rapport. We are a good duo and together we want to help the team have a successful season.
Aitor: Alex is a great addition to the team. I have been practicing with him and he has good ball control; he is great with free kicks and corners. With him on board, our midfield game has definitely gotten a good pillar of support and I can’t wait to see what he and I bring to the club this season together.
On how different this squad and season is going to be from the previous one
Aitor: There is no comparison and honestly, I don’t like dwelling in the past. To me, what happens now is important. We want to keep staying focused, energetic, positive and we want to win. That is all that matters as we get closer to the season.
On which Indian footballer caught their attention
Aitor: Jacki is a valuable addition to the team. We are getting to learn so much from him and he is someone youngsters can look up to as they grow. When you have a player of his calibre, it automatically changes the psychology of the team and the gameplay because he has experienced what it is like to be on that winning side. So yes, his addition is definitely a good one.
On playing under coaches from other nationalities
Aitor: Apart from playing under Spanish and now an English coach, I have worked with a Romanian coach, an Israelian coach and a Croatian coach.
David: I have always worked under Spanish coaches. This is the first time I would be playing under an English coach.
On Owen Coyle and his style of coaching
Aitor: There is so much intensity in the way he teaches us and he pushes us to bring that same intensity to the field every time. He always tells us to play with all our hearts, to play with pure passion because that makes a difference as well in the game.
David: He brings so much energy in his sessions. His style of play is impressive as he constantly tells us to add more and more intensity in our attack and defence.
On the difference between preseason training in Jamshedpur and Goa
Aitor: Obviously it makes a lot of difference when you have your stadium, training ground, gym and swimming pool all within walking distance from your house. You have all the facilities at the tip of your fingers. So for me, preseason training in Jamshedpur was definitely a better experience. We have all the facilities here as well but there is a lot travelling involved here. Plus, the weather is different. Jamshedpur weather around this time is more comfortable so it is easier to train due to colder conditions. It’s very hot and humid in Goa so we are still acclimatizing to the heat. But it is getting better with every passing day and our bodies are becoming familiar to the heat.