Outlining a possible route map for FC Pune City in Miguel Portugal era
Written by: Waseem Zaidi
The Spaniard had a disappointing stint with Delhi Dynamos last season in the ISL.
After the departure of Ranko Popovic and Marcus Paqueta, FC Pune have now announced that Miguel Angel Portugal will be their head coach for the upcoming season of the Indian Super League. This will be the second stint for the tactician from Spain in the ISL, who also managed the Delhi Dynamos in the 2017-18 campaign.
Upon the conclusion of the league last time around, Portugal had returned to Spain where he managed Granada CF. The former midfielder has an impressive resume and a long coaching career behind him, duricg which he has managed teams such as Real Madrid C, Real Madrid B, Racing Santander, Valladolid, and so on. Above all, the Spaniard is now well-versed with the ISL due to his previous stint with the Dynamos.
Portugall expressed his opinion on the move by saying, “I had a very good experience of India and the ISL last season and I was very impressed with the organisation, facilities, stadiums, fan support and therefore coming back to ISL was a very easy decision for me.”
He also lauded the training facilities at his new club believing them to be one of the best in the country. The early positivity and enthusiasm expressed by the newly-appointed manager has instilled confidence and assurity in the fans and the club officials alike.
The Stallions had their best ever performance last term under Serbian manager Ranko Popovic. They reached the playoffs for the first time ever and looked a dominant side throughout the season, finishing fourth in the league standings. The disappointment of the semi-final elimination at the hands of Bengaluru FC was further compounded by the shock announcement from Popovic that he would leave the club.
On the other hand, Portugal himself had a horrible time with the Delhi-based outfit as his side finished third from ottom; a fact that had the Stallions' fans worried upon the announcement of his appointment.
The new gaffer at Pune City will look to address the issues that plagued the club last season, such as defensive frailties and failure to finish off matches from winning positions. Where they are well-equipped going forward with players such as Marcelinho, Diego Carlos, Baljit Sahni and new recruit Iain Hume among their ranks; it will be the defense where the team needs immediate attention. With the signing of players like Keenan Almeida and Shankar Sampingiraj, it looks like the club have already taken the necessary steps to reinforce that area of the pitch.
The former Delhi tactician is well-known for implementing a system in his teams that is based on attacking football and given the prolific striking options at the club, Portugal seems to be the perfect signing for the Pune-based outfit. He will certainly set up his side with an attacking mentality at heart. Fans of FCPC have shown their appreciation for this move, citing that the attack-minded approach of the new manager will perfectly compliment the style of play upon which their club had managed to qualify for the playoffs.
Pune City will again look to bank on their strength going forward and the signing of a manager that prefers to play attacking football could be a stroke of genius. Reports also suggest that Portugal will be joined by his trusted second in-command, Gonzalo Yarza. The club owners will expect their team to at least reach the playoffs or go one step further than last season and clinch their maiden title. Anything less will be a major step backwards for The Stallions and could result in yet another managerial shuffle.
The club based out of Maharashtra boasts of one of the most settled squads in preparation for the new edition of the ISL. An ambitious managerial appointment coupled with the playoffs no longer being uncharted territory, they are the ones to watch and will surely be challenging for the title against the other top teams of the league. Rest assured, their fixtures are bound to be full of goals and memorable moments that will keep the fans on the edge of their seats.
Published: Mon Sep 03, 2018 02:36 PM IST