“The country is starving for football action, let’s get the ball rolling”

Subrata speaks about training under Manolo Marquez, maintaining personal fitness and more…

One of the most experienced players currently training under Manolo Marquez in Goa is Subrata Paul. The Arjuna Awardee, brings in a wealth of experience which will be invaluable for the youngsters in the squad at the club. With the Indian Super League opener for HFC just a week away, we sat down with the ace shot-stopper as he spoke about various things.

On the experience of learning from a seasoned manager like Manolo Marquez…

Manolo Marquez is an experienced and respected manager in Spain. His inputs and coaching, I am sure, will help the club perform well in the league. Having a coach like him is an asset, but there’s also a flip side for the players. As much he will be guiding us, he will always demand that extra level from the players. He is someone who hates to lose, and we as players need to get used to his intellect and to his coaching philosophy.

But as professional players, we cannot leave it or expect the coach to win it for us, we need to back him. We have to follow his instruction, his game plans, and every single thing he teaches us in the training and not let him down. For me, he is the perfect choice for the club.

On following strict fitness routines and working on his reflexes…

The life of a footballer is all about sacrifice and so as a player, you need to ask your inner self, if you are ready to sacrifice. If yes, you will walk the road for long and if not, you will hit a roadblock sooner or later.

There is never any secret to maintain yourself, it is an open book and it is mentioned that you can never cheat in any profession, be it in your practice, commitment, match build up, diet, etc. If you cheat, you allow others to go a step forward.

That book also says that every day is a new day and as a player I am as good as the last match, so we need to build on the positives and prepare again and again and again and again. If you rest, you are as good as gone!

On a hectic start to the upcoming Indian Super League campaign…

I think that eleven teams in the ISL this year, are all well prepared. We have to play 20 matches in this league and so when all the teams are strong, we should think about one match at a time.

I don’t think it’s my job to think about who is the strongest team. I think we have coaches to think about it and I’m sure that Manolo and his coaching staff, is doing a lot of planning.

On getting used to playing in front of empty stands…

We all have to wait for the virus to subside and football to resurface and regain its glory. Let the season be conducted with no threat of the virus, let football be back again. The country is starving for football action, let’s get the ball rolling.

It will be the first time that we’ll be playing without fans and I think that will be a big challenge for us, to step out on the pitch without our twelfth man. But we have to accept the fact that it is the situation all over the world and the way the league is being played in every country. It is how the game is being played in our country and we have to accept it.

On his message for the fans from Hyderabad…

I feel sorry for all the football fans who came to support us in every match last season. It’s tough for them to not be able to watch and support a team they love, and it’s equally tough for us to be playing without their passionate support. But we have to adjust to this situation.

My message to all the fans is to stay safe, take care of the elders and your families back home. The sad part is that I still have to wait to see you all at the stadium. We have to accept it and perform on our own, but we will be playing for them and hope that they support us throughout the season.

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