New Delhi, July 27 (IANS) Girona FC may have had a fairy tale 10th place finish on their La Liga debut in 2017-18, but ahead of the upcoming season, the Catalan football club aims to start the campaign with a humble objective of maintaining their position in the Spanish top division.
Girona FC have had two seasons to remember, promotion from the second division in 2016-17, the first in their nearly 88-year-old history, followed by a 10th place finish in the La Liga.
According to experienced central defender Bernado Espinosa, Girona are keeping their feet on the ground as he reasoned that they compete in the “best league in the world”.
However, on the back of their minds, they are aware that they missed out on Europa League qualification last season but pressure of expectations will be higher this season.
“It is going to be a very different league. In our debut year, we had a lot of advantages in terms of the opponents not knowing the team, not knowing how Girona will play and compete,” Espinosa, who is in Kochi where Girona are taking part in a pre-season event also involving Kerala Blasters and Melbourne City FC, told IANS.
“Expectations have grown so much because of the successful season we had last year and that is gonna make it harder this time. Girona is a small, young and growing club in the league. We are clear in our objective like the last year — which is staying in La Liga — the best championship in the world. That is not going to change,” the 29-year-old Colombian added.
“We know that we had chance to make it to the European competition (Europa League) last season but we are not going to forget that we are one of the smallest clubs in Spain. We will keep with the same mentality which we had last year. The competition is tough and it is going to be hard.”
Girona’s matches at Kochi’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium will also be part of the team’s build-up for the 2018-19 La Liga season.
“It (the tournament in Kochi) is a great opportunity to work towards our preparations. Normally we don’t have these such long trips in pre-season tour but for us, it is an opportunity to get out of comfort zone, know about new culture, new football and new places where lot of people are showing passion for the sport,” the Sevilla FC youth system product said.
“Our main objective is to play two very good matches against two good teams. Moreover, we don’t get to hear much about football in these parts of the world. But the people have lot of passion for the sport. We arer here to enjoy but our aim is to prepare the best way as we can to get ready for the start of the league.”
(Abhishek Purohit can be contacted at [email protected])