ISL- Indian Super League

These games make children into men: Staikos Vergetis ahead of Mumbai City clash

November 2 2023
Brandon Vanlalremdika Hyderabad FC Ravi Kumar Punjab FC Staikos Vergetis Mumbai City FC ISL 2023-24 East Bengal
(Courtesy : ISL Media)

Staikos Vergetis expects the Punjab FC players to come out stronger after facing adversity in the last game.

Punjab FC are set to face mighty Mumbai City FC in their next Indian Super League 2023-24 contest at the Mumbai Football Arena on Thursday. The side has lost three of their first five games in the top tier of the Indian football pyramid after winning the I-League and becoming the first club ever to earn promotion to the ISL.

Punjab FC head coach, Staikos Vergetis, understands the difficulty of the task but has belief in his players to deliver a strong performance. He was joined by goalkeeper Ravi Kumar who has had a strong start to the 2023-24 season apart from the 5-1 defeat to Chennaiyin FC in the previous ISL outing.

Here are the excerpts from the conversation:

Defeat against Chennaiyin FC had many bad moments

The tactician talked about the 5-1 defeat to Chennaiyin FC in the previous fixture and how it was a bad day for everyone involved with the club. He said, “It was a game that did not make us feel proud. Things were not good for us during the game. There were crucial moments in which we lost one chance and conceded a chance in transition. There were many bad moments in the game (against Chennaiyin FC). But, we came into this division to be competitive, and until that game, we succeeded in being competitive. There are no easy games for us but we do not want the games to be easy for the opponents.”

Need to be stronger

The upcoming game against Mumbai City FC is perhaps the biggest challenge Punjab FC will face in the ISL 2023-24. It will be a huge task coming up against the reigning ISL Shield winners but Vergetis believes occasions such as these make players mature.

“These are the games, situations that make the children into men. Football mirrors life, you have to become stronger after a difficult situation. Everyone celebrates after winning a game and you don’t have to force yourself to be strong. The positive out of this negative situation is that our players know that they have to become stronger and mature. I do not fly to the sky when we win games or fall to the floor when we lose. This is what I try to transmit to my team,” he opined.

Ravi Kumar on team morale

Punjab FC’s Ravi Kumar spoke about the confidence levels in the dressing room ahead of an important game against the Islanders. “Everybody in the team knows that we did not perform the way we should have in the last game (against Chennaiyin FC). We will get a positive result if we give our best performance in the next game against my former club Mumbai City FC,” he said.

“The players are confident as they have won the I-League to come into the ISL. But, it is taking some time to adjust to the challenges of the ISL. I think the team is doing well and they are confident about getting a good result against Mumbai City FC,” the custodian concluded.

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