FC Pune City are still in the dark whether coach Ranko Popovic will be allowed to be in the technical area or instead serve another match’s suspension for disciplinary reasons and watch the upcoming game against Mumbai City FC from the stands.
Assistant coach Vladica Grujic hopes that Popovic gets a chance to be near the touchline as his presence helps the team massively.
“Every team needs a head coach. We need him during the game. He is very important for the team. I am the assistant coach not the head coach; the team needs him, I hope he is closer to the pitch tomorrow (on Sunday),” said Grujic.
Pune have 25 points from 14 matches and need to secure a few more to confirm their place in the top four. Grujic mentioned that his team will look to approach the game with an intention to pick another three points.
“No matches are easy. In this phase of championship, we have a few steps to make to go to the top four. It is very difficult due to the pressure but I hope we make one of the few steps tomorrow. Whether we will be happy with a draw will depend on tomorrow’s match. I am sure the boys will fight for the win but we can only discuss about a draw or not tomorrow,” he said.
He also spoke that his team will look to see out the period when Mumbai City throw numbers forward especially in the opening quarter of the game.
“After every game we analyse and explain the players about the corrections. The game is very important because this is the Maharashtra Derby. Mumbai City will give everything in the first 15-to-20 minutes to have command over the game. We know this and for our team it is very important to get the winning mentality. This will happen step-by-step. We want to win every game, we have come here to win and make one of our many steps to play-offs,” he opined.
He earmarked the likes of Thiago Santos and Balwant Singh among those who his team needs to watch out for.
“Mumbai City have a strong player in Thiago Santos, Balwant Singh and others. We know about them but we also know where we are strong and want to put a match-winning performance,” he signed off.