I-League: Pune Fans Are Fantastic - Pune FC Star Arata Izumi

The midfielder spoke about the club's recent turnaround in fortunes...
Pune FC have been in fine form over the past two weeks, going through the Federation Cup unbeaten, beating heavyweights Dempo in he process, and resuming their I-League campaign in style with a win over JCT in Ludhiana. The game saw an in form Arata Izumi create the team's winner for striker Edmar, and the midfielder said that it's a result of the side gaining confidence.

Speaking to Goal.com about his performance in the match against JCT, Arata said, "It was a good game, and I played well too. I got into a good position for the goal, and Edmar finished well to give us the lead."

The PIO has blown hot and cold since his arrival at Pune in the summer. While he's scored some good goals in a few matches, he hasn't got involved as much as he would have liked in others. Arata, though, has nothing to say to his critics.

"I haven't played too regularly in the last year or so, which didn't really help me. At Pune, I have played almost every match in the last four months or so, which is helping me. As far as critics go, I can't really say anything. My job is just to go out and do my best on the pitch."

Pune's revival after an early season slump, where they drew six and lost two of their eight opening I-League games, has met with high praise from different corners of the football fraternity, and Arata believes it's a result of a change in luck, and increased confidence.

"We were playing well earlier too, but weren't lucky enough. Sometimes we missed easy chances, and sometimes we conceded silly goals late in the game. Luck was against us, but things are looking better now. Also, we are more confident now, after the results in recent times."

The top five isn't too far away for the I-League debutants as well, according to him. He added, "It's a close league, and definitely if we keep playing like this, we can get close to the top five."

The lad also reserved special praise for the club and his new hometown, the city of Pune.

"I'm really liking it at Pune FC. The people at the club are very nice, and the facilities are great. The city is wonderful as well, and the fans are fantastic, coming in large numbers for every home game", he concluded.

Atishay Agarwal