Both managers expressed concern for the condition of the pitch but were optimistic that it will play well.
Jamshedpur coach Steve Coppell rated the match against Delhi Dynamos as a marginal one but was delighted to secure his first win. “Obviously (we were) very pleased with the victory in Delhi. We were marginally stronger on that night and deserved something from that game.
He added, “We scored, yes, but we had many more scoring opportunities. We won 0-1 but would have liked to win by more. At the end, very happy with the three points. It is the “mantra” of football these days, the three points are very important. Overall the performance was much stronger as well.”
The former Manchester United and England player was wary of Pune’s attacking prowess and promised a good game. “Yes, Pune are a top side, its fair to say that. Arguably, they have two of the best strikers in the league. Based on the past season, both Marcelinho and (Emiliano) Alfaro were excellent, and both together make a powerful combination. It will be a tough game, we are pretty aware of that. Hopefully it will be a good game to watch and enjoyed by all.”
Answering to questions about the issues regarding the football pitch at the JRD Tata Sports Complex Coppell said, “It had a few issues based on evidence from the first game. The ground staff has worked really hard to correct those issues. But, we don’t know how the pitch will behave until tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully, the players can run, dribble, pass and tackle well without any problems, lets see.”
The English tactician also cleared the air regarding South African midfielder Sameehg Doutie. “No behavioural issues. He had some personal issues in Delhi which he is resolving at the moment. Chances are that he won’t be available. But he might just recover. It’s a difficult one to call at the moment. Maybe, he will land in tomorrow or early next week.”
Also the JFC boss provided the latest injury updates confirming the absence of Anas Edathodika. “Anas is injured. He is not with us at the moment and has left for specialist physiotherapy treatment. We travelled last week and obviously didn’t want him to travel with us and aggravate the injury. No more injury concerns. I think after 4-5 matches, every team has players with little niggles, its the same in our case, but that won’t stop them from playing.”
Pune City coach Ranko Popovic praised Jamshedpur’s defensive record till now and considers them a tough team to beat. “Look, at the beginning of the league, there’s not much difference between the clubs. If I have to say about Jamshedpur, maybe they are a well-organized team, the best defensively [laughs] because they haven’t conceded a goal yet. It won’t be easy for us to score against them. But, we will try our best.”
The Serbian tactician thinks his lads are improving with every passing day and just need to secure the defence. “See, we are expecting an exciting match tomorrow. Yes, we have had mixed results till now, but we are improving with each game. Maybe, we played our best game in our last match, but we lost 1-0. We didn’t give much opportunities to our opponents.”
“Maybe we have to try and do what Jamshedpur do best [defend well] and if we can do that we can expect a good result this season,” he added.
The Pune boss said his side has no serious injury concerns ahead of the game against Jamshedpur. “No major casualty as such. Some of the players had fever; our medical staff has responded well. So, some are carrying little niggles and some are sick.”
Popovic was of the same view as Coppell when he was asked about the pitch. “Well, this pitch will be the same for both the teams. I see the ground staff is working on it. If the pitch is bad, players also find excuses to cover their lapses. Hope it will behave well.”