Our aim was always to finish in top three - Pune FC coach Derrick Pereira

The Red Lizards coach was a happy man after he saw his team put in a good shift to overcome reigning champions Dempo at the Balewadi Sports Complex....
There are not many coaches in the I-League who can boast of doing the double over Dempo SC. Pune FC's Derrick Pereira is one who has achieved that feat this season as his team piled more misery on the Goan club in a 2-0 win at Pune.

“I'm very happy with the performance and with the result. The boys showed the right attitude to get a good result. I felt we dominated the match and moved the ball well and were good in all departments defensively and going forward as well," said Pereira in the post-match briefing.

"The first half we really dominated and were good in all departments. During the second half I knew they would put pressure on us. I think we contained very well. The defense was strong, midfield was compact especially with Sukhwinder (Singh) and Arata Izumi in the center. Wings were packed by Khanthang Paite and Karma Tsewang. Overall it was a good performance," the former Salgaocar man opined.

The coach's decision to start goalscorer Sukhwinder Singh over club captain Douhou Pierre paid off dividends as the midfielder scored a sumptuous shot to give the Maharashtra side the lead.

“Sukhwinder has been with me for a long time from Vasco SC and Mahindra United. He is an experienced player and I knew about his abilities. The only thing was that he needed to get fit. He had a couple of injuries that kept him out for nearly 6-to-7 months," explained the coach.

"The team was set and we had to find the right combination, so it was tough for him to get into the team earlier. But when he got the chance, he proved himself and I'm happy that he performed well today. I'm sure he would give better performances in the future," he added.

The gaffer also revealed the reason behind him choosing to bench Pierre in favour of Sukhwinder.

“It is always good to have competition. Everybody is working hard which is very important. It depends on the combination and the opposition. Douhou is our captain and an inspiring player. It's good that we have more players who have shown their ability to get into the XI," said Derrick.

Striker James Moga sealed Dempo's fate with a second goal just before half-time and the coach was happy that his key players are getting into their stride in addition to praising the team for a good performance.

Pereira opted to field new signing Boima 'Jerry' Karpeh along with Moga to take the attack to a weakened Dempo defence.

“It’s a sprint now. We had another seven matches remaining before the Dempo game. So we had to go all So we got in Jerry  in place of Daisuke (Nishiguchi) who was a midfielder. That was the plan of the management and we signed Jerry," said the 51-year old. 

Derrick signed off by saying that he had belief that this squad was capable of a top-three finish.

“Our aim was to always finish on top, top three I would say. We always look to improve the squad. When I saw the squad first, it was good to finish on top," said Pereira.

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