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Popovic praises two Indian No.1s, Gregory happy with smash and grab win

Written by: Sabin Castelino

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Both managers had words of praise for the effort of their respective players.

FC Pune City tasted their second defeat of the season to the team they have never won a single game against in the last seven clashes. Chennaiyin FC ran out winners in a drab Indian Super League (ISL) game that lacked intent from both sides except for a piece of brilliance from Henrique Sereno which handed the visitors the goal. A very disappointed Ranko Popovic addressed the media in the post-match presser looking very perplexed at his team’s results.

When asked about his takeaways from the game, Popovic said, “It is very hard for us to lose one game like this because in any aspect we didn’t deserve to lose the game. I don’t want to say that we deserved to win because we were the better team, because even if we were tired, I told you it’s not like an excuse but 4th game in 10 or 11 days."

He continued, Iin the second half the team did not have the fresh energy. But, I am proud of the players because of the way they were playing in the first half was very nice. Unfortunately, we didn’t score the goals. As we saw, football is sometimes a cruel game like today without any chances, they get one set-piece and they go away with three points.

Speaking on the positives from the game he added, “The positive thing was, the power and energy was good, good shape and good work attacking always for the first 45 minutes and we had clear determination. In the second half we didn’t have the clear chances, we could have equalized, but we didn’t. The players need to recover for 1-2 days and then we will sit and work on it.”

Chennaiyin FC too played in a manner as though they had come looking only for a draw. When asked about his thoughts on this the Serbian chose to focus on his team saying, “I don’t want to think nothing but today they are going away with three points. We let them leave with all three points and my team was trying to win the game, but we are looking to take the positives from the game.”

When asked whether his team lacked intent in the second half an angry Popovic said, “I think the better team was Pune, but the better team doesn't win always. The players who came in the second half they must put more energy. They must put more pressure, not looking more tired like the players who played three games."

He added, “This is not in the body but this in the mind and this is what makes me angry and this is what I will speak particularly. But, generally I cannot ask for more like they can. The best example for them is Emiliano Alfaro. Three days he did not train with us but he looked like a 20-year-old boy giving everything. This is good and this is positive that I have a player like this in the team.”

When asked whether Visha Kaith will start the next game over Kamaljit Singh who started the first three he said, “We will see both of them make good performance. Kamal(jit) played three games continuously, even Vishal played good. Who will play we will decide during the week but both of them for me are the #1s.”


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"I have many young players in the team, they will learn from this experience-Gregory

John Gregory spoke to the press after a successful outing for his team which ended with them getting their first away victory at the first time of trying. When asked about the game he said, “We came to get three points and we got them.”

When asked if he would have been happy to take just a single point home Gregory agreed and said, “I probably would. This is the worst we have played, during the course of the game and we haven’t played for 10 days and you could say that sometimes when you are playing regularly, you just go out and react to what’s going on and if you are on a good run its quite easy to just go out there and just pick up where you left off in the last game.”

Speaing on the game as a whole, “I think the goal deserved to win the match but it wasn’t the greatest spectacle. I think they had a few tired legs with them. They have had a hard programme. I think I will have a lot of happy faces on the training ground in the next couple of days.”

When asked about whether, it was intimidating to play at the Balewadi Stadium Gregory said, “At the Marina Arena we have a lot more people coming in. We have a lot more people who are expecting us to win. Sometimes, it’s difficult to play at home than on the road.”

He continued, "So no, we didn’t find it intimidating I think Pune have a good side who are in the middle of a very good run and they are playing very naturally and they have got some excellent players in their side.”

He further spoke about his young side and how they are adapting to life in the ISL saying, “I have got a lot of young boys in my side. it’s not their young age, they are young in terms of experience.  We got two boys in the centre of my midfield, who have had only a handful of games. One player debuted last week. We brought one off the bench tonight who’s just a kid. We've got Jerry Lalrinzuala who is an interesting kid."

“For them to come to a place like this is possibly intimidating for them. But, they will learn from this experience tonight. I am very happy with the outcome of the game. Possibly not the way we achieved it but we are happy to be going home with three points.”

Speaking about Jeje Lalpekhlua, Gregory added, “He (Jeje) has had the best game till now today. He had to fight for the ball. He was out on his own a lot today and we did not provide him the best service today."

“After the game I told him, if he is not scoring goals, he has to earn his place in the team and I thought he worked exceptionally hard today. Sometimes, up against a really tough defense, he was on his own up there, but he did very well. The goals will come if he continues to work like this.”

 

Published: Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:29 AM IST

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