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ISL Media

Popovic eyes three points, Lobera concerned about scoring goals

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The Gaurs haven't won in their last five games and are in contention to missing out on playoffs spot.

FC Pune City welcome FC Goa to the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium in Pune in Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 on Sunday. The Stallions, who are currently second with 29 points from 16 games, know that a win would cement qualification for the playoffs. Addressing the media during the pre-match press conference was their head coach Ranko Popovic, and he spoke about the importance of making the playoffs.

“It (sealing a playoff spot) is important because it’s the history of the club,” Popovic said. “It’s the same for us. Every game that we play we try to take the three points. This is what I was talking from the beginning. If you win the games, in the end you will have a good position and reach your target. It’s a big thing if we are in the semi-finals.”

The Serbian added what he wanted from his team in the next few matches. “We have to keep up the attitude and all the things that we are doing until now that bring us in the position to be where we are,” Popovic stated. “Only if we continue to do the same things we can do the good things in the future also. This is why we want to give our best.”

He further elaborated, “I want to think about the performance of the team, about the defence and the attack. If we think about these things we can score one goal more than Goa and get the three` points for us and close this part of the championship in front of our fans in a good way.”

The 50-year-old concluded by saying, “For us, it’s important to play a serious game and to be at our level. This is what we’re trying to do from the beginning to push each other and compete for a place in the team. We conserve this and I’m happy about this.”


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FC Goa travel to the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium in Pune to take on FC Pune City in Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 on Sunday. The Gaurs are winless in their last five matches, picking up only two points from a possible 15. That form has seen them sink to a lowly seventh in the league standings, meaning Goa now need maximum points from their remaining three fixtures to guarantee a playoff spot.

Speaking to the media during the pre-match press conference was the Gaurs’ head coach Sergio Lobera, and while admitting it had not been easy going in February, he still was optimistic about the future. “It’s true that we haven’t been having a good past few games, and we only managed to get two points from them,” he stated. “But if you look at the past, you also have to take into account that we actually did well before the five games that we just talked about, and we depend upon ourselves in the upcoming three games.”

He further went on to add, “What we look at now is the future, and the future begins tomorrow. Tomorrow we have an important game, and when it is over, we want to be in complete control of our own fate.”

Goa are the only team to have not kept a clean sheet all season, but the Spaniard pointed out that consequently his team had scored in abundance. “It’s true that we have conceded a lot of goals, but it’s also true that we have scored a lot of goals,” Lobera remarked. “I think we are one of the better teams in the league in terms of goal difference, but it is true that we can improve in the defensive aspect.”

However, defence still doesn’t seem to be Lobera’s main concern, “But taking into account the last few games, what worries me more is the fact that we haven’t been able to score goals rather than the fact that we have been conceding goals,” he said.

The 41-year-old also specified where his team’s problems lie. “I think with regards to the goals we conceded, it was more to do with our mistakes rather than what the other team did,” Lobera inferred. “In the last few games, we had a lot of chances on goal, so yes, we are creating many opportunities. What we don’t have is the definition and the ability to finish like we were finishing before.”

Published: Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:00 PM IST

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