The ISL returns to action today with FC Pune City taking on a Mumbai City side that shocked FC Goa with a late winner over the weekend.
What the Head Coaches are saying
Mumbai City boss Alexandre Guimaraes is a lot happier this week, given that Thiago Santos’ late winner against Goa gave Mumbai their first win of the season.
“We come here (at Pune) with a unit which has more confidence. The players are happy to play here and will continue to improve our game. FC Pune City had a fantastic last game and won very well. Like all other teams, we are trying to find the right mix (of players)”, said the Costa Rican manager.
He was also fully aware for the need for complete defensive concentration against Pune, identifying the “precise” nature of their opponents attacking game.
“The goals which FC Pune City scored have come from very precise chances. And when a team can do that, you have to make sure you don’t make mistakes because then they will punish you. They have tough players up front whom we can’t give an inch (to attack),’’ said the 58-year-old.
Serbian Ranko Popovic is also feeling less pressure this matchday having masterminded FC Pune City’s 4-1 thrashing of ATK at the weekend. He is hoping for more goals against Mumbai.
“We are scoring goals, we are trying to score. Even in the pre-season, apart from the first match, we had goals in every other game. And we will try to do the same but in football, you can never say what will happen,’’ he said.
Popovic has one eye on the tough schedule as well, saying.
“The schedule is very tight for us – we have four games in eleven days; I don’t like to use this as an excuse but we don’t have much time to make things better. Now is the time to refresh, to recover and work on the mentality of the boys. I hope it turns out good”.
FC Pune City will be without Jewel Raja for the clash. Mumbai City are going to be without Leo Costa, who was injured in the first match with Bengaluru FC and Aiborlang Khongjee who needs surgery.
The match really is a case of a team believed to have a strong attack and weaker defence in Pune against a side believe to have a strong defence and weaker attack in Mumbai. If Goian and Gerson can do a good job containing Marcelinho and Alfaro then there is every chance that Everton Santos and his fellow Brazilian Thiago Santos could get a chance to shine. A lot will depend on the performance of Mumbai’s Achille Emana and keep an eye on Abhinas Ruidas who has won two emerging player awards so far.