The Italian manager praised his team’s character ahead of the game against FC Pune City…

Delhi Dynamos FC will be looking to inch closer to the semi-finals of Hero Indian Super League 2016 when they take on FC Pune City at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium in Balewadi on Friday. The Lions are currently the side to beat as they occupy the top spot in the table with 17 points from 10 games, having been unbeaten in their last five games, including three successive wins.

Head coach Gianluca Zambrotta, however, believes that his side must not get carried away with their current position at the summit of the table. “At the moment we are in a good position but we are a long way away from reaching the semi-finals. There are still four matches to go. I like to take one game at a time. So, for this reason we are only focusing on the FC Pune City game right now,” the Italian told reporters at the pre-match press conference.

Delhi drew 2-2 with Atlético de Kolkata in their previous encounter despite being a man down for more than an entire half after Badara Badji was handed a red card towards the end of the first period. Reflecting on his side’s draw against the 2014 winners, Zambrotta was effusive in praise of his players. “Our last match was against ATK. They are a very good team, for me one of the best of the ISL. You shouldn’t forget we played that game one man down for 50 minutes and it’s a long time. I am very proud of Delhi Dynamos and all my players. In that game we went down a goal and came back to make it 1-1 and then were down 2-1 and again we came back to make it 2-2 at the end,” Zambrotta said.

He added: “That shows us how powerful Delhi Dynamos are. For us, it was very important to get a point against ATK. It also showed we are mentally strong and that we have the right character and we will not give up easily. This is a very big positive for me as a coach.”

The 39-year-old FIFA World Cup winner is also expecting a tough encounter against the Stallions and is wary of the quality players in Pune’s ranks. “They are a very good team. They have beaten tough teams like Mumbai and ATK and I respect them. So it’s not like they cannot win. They will be difficult to beat because they are playing well. They are a defensively very good unit and they have good quality players. So, we think Pune is a good team and it will be a difficult match tomorrow,” he said.

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