Sergio Lobera wary of Pune City, Pradyum Reddy positive about a win
Written by: Ajay A K
The hosts have scored the most goals in the league so far.
FC Goa routed Mumbai City at the Fatorda Stadium, scoring five unanswered goals as they temporarily moved to the top of the table. Keeping close proximity with their last game, the Gaurs' attack will look to exploit a disgruntled FC Pune City side in turmoil. The Stallions sacked their head coach Miguel Angel Portugal only a few days ago, after three matches at the helm.
Pune are yet to win this season in the ISL and are hoping for a big reversal in fortunes. Under interim coach Pradyum Reddy, Pune will face the best attacking side in the league, which seem like a gigantic job for them considering their situation right now.
Sergio Lobera (FC Goa)
Sergio Lobera’s side face Pune City in their second match in five days. This short span of time could cause fatigue and fitness issues for players. When asked about it the Spaniard addressed the issue rather calmly.
“Like I said after the last game, we will assess the players and how they are. We will have to see who are the best players and decide who we think will be the best fit to take part in the game. The calendar is what it is and there is no excuses."
On the contrast between his team and the opposition Lobera said, “I sincerely don’t think we are favourites. I also believe that if we are not 100% we are not going to win the game."
"I don’t think the table reflects the potential Pune have as a team. I think they are a great team and that they are going to fight for the title. I think tomorrow’s game is a tough one," he added.
The Gaurs' head coach explained his tactics when asked about his side’s inclination to play through the middle. “I think the style of play we deploy, the full-backs play more on the wings and the wingers we have moved into the middle."
"The second goal that we scored the other day, it was Seriton (Fernandes), who crossed the ball. He plays as a full-back and Jacki (Jackichand Singh) appearing in the middle. I think we are just as strong wide as we are in the centre," he recollected.
"I think it’s because the wide players play through the middle it seems like that," he concluded.
Pradyum Reddy (FC Pune City)
FC Goa have won their last two games, while Pune City have been unable to register a victory in any of their games. When asked about it the interim head coach Pradyum Reddy revealed he feels that his side can win the contest.
“It’s always a challenge when you play against FC Goa. We came in a similar situation last year when they were in free-flowing scoring form. It is a similar challenge as last year, but we came here and got a result; got a clean-sheet and won 0-2."
"We have got a similar squad as last year. We feel if we get things fixed, we could try and grind out a result like we did last year," Reddy added.
The mood in the camp after the sacking of the head coach was another issue which he addressed. “It’s not an easy task obviously to pick up the boys. No-one likes to be in this kind of a situation," he started before adding, "One of the things we did, we looked at the video last season. We looked at the highlights of last season. The way we defended in numbers. The way we were working as a team to defend and the way we attacked as a team last season. Those gave us a bit of boost going into the game and we know we can play them.”
“We have been playing well in patches during games. In the first three games, up until the 30th minute we have had patches where we played very well," he quipped.
"We just have to make sure it’s not just a 15-minute spell that we play well and not concede in those moments when we are not playing well. The first step is to get to half-time without conceding a goal,” the gaffer finished.
No injury or suspension concerns are there at present for FC Goa.
FC Pune City
Marko Stankovic and Rohit Kumar are out for the Stallions with injuries. Ashiqoue Kuruniyan and Emiliano Alfaro are doubtful for the clash.
Did You know?
When Goa faced Pune City last season, both times the away team ended up with three points. The Gaurs breezed past the Stallions in Pune 0-4, while the latter carved out a 0-2 win in Goa.
Emiliano Alfaro scored for Pune the last time they faced the Gaurs in Goa. The Stallions went on to win 0-2.
Ferran Corominas has scored two goals in as many matches against Pune City.
The match will take place tomorrow at 7:30 pm at the Fatorda Stadium in Madgaon. On television, the match will be broadcasted live on Star Sports network. Meanwhile, it will also be streamed on Hotstar and JioTV.