Pune FC faced a 0-2 humiliation in the hands of a struggling Salgaocar FC side as their wretched home run at Balewadi continued as they have managed just a single win in their last seven games.
Coach Derrick Pereira was obviously disappointed with his team’s performance and especially the defense as they never really managed to come back into the game following Francis Fernandes’ second-minute goal.
“Yes, the team suffered an early setback and could never really recover. We conceded an early goal. The defense looked very shaky and the midfield also didn’t function well. We also didn’t have that firepower upfront. We didn’t combine as a team today and I think it was a bad day at office for us. Overall, the result is very disappointing,” Pereira summed up the performance.
Pune FC had to bench James Moga as he wasn’t fully fit while the Indian strike duo of Subhash Singh and Jeje Lalpekhlua didn’t really test the opposition’s citadel given that their midfield was devoid of creativity.
“I think first time those two (Subhash and Jeje) played together. The coordination was missing. Also, as the midfield underperformed, there was an additional pressure for the defense line to handle. Whenever we were going forward, we didn’t seem that strong a side like the earlier matches. Hardly any chances were created. We thought that something good will happen later in the match and balls were flown into the opponent box. But as it turned out, it was a very poor outing as a team,” he elaborated.
Pune FC has lost three of its last four games and have lost pace in the title race. Pereira however remarked that the opponents do their homework on the Red Lizards given that they are now considered among the elite sides in the league.
“Everybody knows that Pune FC is a formidable side now. They come well prepared. The previous matches were somewhat different from today’s match. Earlier we were creating a lot of chances, but couldn’t really capitalize on that. Today’s story was completely different as we failed to create even one good chance,” he said.
He also launched a scathing attack on some of his players who didn’t impress in the middle and as a result the team had to suffer another defeat.
“Today we didn’t dominate the proceedings. There were players who showed poor commitment today.”
The former Mahindra United coach was confident that his team would finish in the top half of the table but believes that they are still very much in the mix to mount a title challenge.
“I am still looking for a top table finish. Yes, we have recently lost our plot. But there are nine games remaining after this and I am sure that we can move up. There are always ups and downs in a marathon league. When you face a bad patch, you must work hard to come back. That is why we are trying to do these days,” he mentioned.
Pereira, who plied his trade for Salgaocar FC in his playing days, explained that it was the ineptness of his side which made the Goan team look formidable.
“Yes, they were playing well after the first goal. But we were also responsible for providing them with extra space. We were not fast while chasing the ball. These things also made them look better.”
Gurjinder Singh, the young Indian international, who was picked for the national side a few days back for the friendly against Palestine, was given the marching order in the 87th minute of the match.
“He is a young player and will certainly learn from his mistake. Football is such a game that it can bring the beast out of you. We desperately needed the ball and the young lad lost his head. These are all learning experiences for them,” he explained.
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