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ISL Media

Portugal keen to improve on set-piece frailties, Pasha wants to build on good start

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The struggling Lions will seek a big scalp on the road as thyey look to kick-start their season.

Delhi Dynamos visit the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai to take on Chennaiyin FC in Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 on Sunday. The Lions have been on a poor run of form that has seen them become the first team in league history to have lost six consecutive matches. A major change in fortunes is thus required for the Dynamos, who were free-scoring and the league’s entertainers last season.

Speaking to the media at the pre-match press conference was their head coach Miguel Portugal, who started off by highlighting the reasons for the Lions’ indifferent form so far. “We started well,” the 62-year-old stated. “We played good, but we had two problems: in defence and attack. We had opportunities to score but we didn’t score. That is the problem for the team, the two ideas. In the middle we play well but not as good.”

The Spaniard explained what has contributed to them conceding so many goals in every match. “The problem for us is the set-pieces,” he revealed. “It’s possible to change the situation. We will try against Chennai. In the normal play, we don’t concede the goal for positional organization. We concede the goal for a mistake from our team. That is the problem. The problem is set-pieces and individual mistakes.”

While Portugal went on to acknowledge that they lack the financial muscle other clubs in the league have, he made it clear that the talent within the Dynamos squad is what will benefit Indian football. “The budget for my players is not like Bengaluru, Pune, Goa,” he said. “The budget for Delhi is less. That is not great to find good players... But Players like (Lallianzuala) Chhangte, Vinit (Rai), Nandhakumar (Sekar), Munmun (Lugun) are all 20-year-olds and this is good for Indian football.”

When expanding on the possibility of Nandhakumar Sekar making an appearance against Chennaiyin, Portugal said: “It’s possible, he played the last match and it’s possible to play tomorrow. He’s a young player for the future. Fast and very efficient in situations in attack. He has good quality.”


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Meanwhile, Chennaiyin FC assistant coach Sabir Pasha had some worrying news regarding injuries to Rene Mihelic and Henrique Sereno. “His (Mihelic) absence is no doubt a loss. It’s also going to be a tough task to replace (Henrique) Sereno. He is such a quality player. We’re prepared for that. I think we’ll replace him with a guy who can do the same job,” said Pasha.

He also mentioned how the team planned to move forward in the league having enjoyed a strong start. “We can’t be complacent,” Pasha stated. “We have to focus on each and every match. Ten matches more to go and it’s not going to be easy. Half of the league is left. We are really prepared, and I think other teams are also prepared. We have to keep doing what we have been doing and keep improving to match the other teams.”

 

Published: Sun Jan 07, 2018 03:03 PM IST

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