The Pune tactician is Goal.com India's Manager of the Month for January...
January has seen the resumption of the I-League, with four rounds of matches having been played. At the end of January, Dempo are at the top, having won two and drawn two of their games in the month. Mahindra are two points behind, and have lost their unbeaten record, as Mohun Bagan beat them for the second time in less than a month, this time at the Cooperage. Other impressive performers have been Viva Kerala, as well as Mumbai FC, both of whom have done well.
However, the one stand-out team in the league in January has been Pune FC, without a doubt. Four wins out of four, the longest such winning streak by any team this season, has propelled them to 6th in the league table, after the first phase had seen them win no matches out of their first eight games. What is more commendable about their achievement is that three of those matches were won away in different parts of the country.
They beat JCT 2-1 in Ludhiana, before seeing off Salgaocar (3-1), and Viva Kerala (3-0) at their home grounds. Their first home game of the second phase pitted them against title contenders Chirag United, but they worked hard and beat the Kolkata side 2-1, even though they missed key players due to suspension.
Pune have worked together as a team, and have been tactically superior to their opponents even when they haven't been at their best. For taking a newly-promoted side on such a remarkable run in the league, Goal.com's first ever Manager of the Month, for the month of January is none other than Pune FC coach Derrick Pereira.
The former Mahindra United coach has brought about a sense of discipline in the Pune ranks, and is the unanimous choice of the Goal.com India team for this recognition.
Watch out for an exclusive interview with the man himself, where he talks about being named the Manager of the Month, and his time at Pune FC so far.