Mike Snoei was all smiles after his team secured a convincing 3-1 away win at the Salt Lake Stadium against Durand Cup winners, Mohammedan Sporting Club on matchday one of the I-League.
He was clearly excited with this being his first trip to the football crazy city of Kolkata and expressed satisfaction after registering their first points of the new season.
"We were happy to start after ten weeks of preparation. For the record this is my first time in Kolkata. We didn’t lose even one game in preparation but that hardly counts as there are no trophies or points in pre-season."
On being asked to grade his team's performance on the day, Snoei was polite enough to credit the opposition for their wonderful display while also commenting on the tireless display by his youngsters.
"This was indeed a good start, no more no less and against a very good team. They put us under a lot of pressure in the very beginning. I must say I am very happy with the performance from my young boys, especially my boys in the midfield. Nikhil [Kadam], Mumtaaz [Akhtar] dared to play football. Clearly there were more experienced players on the bench but they too could see why I was playing these guys. They too see the future in these young lads."
Raul Fabiani had a gem of a game where he scored and set up one for James Meyer but was sent off for taking his shirt off in celebration of his second goal after having picked a card earlier in the game. Snoei was candid to say that he had worked his socks off and instead of admonishing him for seeing a red card, he was sympathetic.
"Why should I be angry? In fact I kissed him on his cheek after he was sent off."
The coach was diplomatic when it was pointed out that Fabiani had earned cautions for two very soft fouls.
"We must respect the decisions by the referees. Yes, Fabiani had not fully removed his shirt for which he was given the second booking but I think it is alright. He must learn from the rules in India."
The Pune FC manager heaped praise on the man of the match for the day, central defender Calum Angus while also hailing the contribution made by James Meyer.
"I was happy with the man of the match Calum Angus. I was happy with James Meyer who scored a very important goal."
"I was also very happy with my two young midfielders, [Dhanpal] Ganesh and Akhtar who clearly showed why I had selected them in the first place."
He did concede that the defense did look shaky but put it down to a half fit skipper Anas Edathodika who still put in a great shift.
"We took a big risk with Anas, our captain. He missed so much of pre-season. Josimar could have scored one or two more goals."
Putting the first three points of the season behind him, Snoei said that they had a long way to traverse still before signing off and also reserving praise for their U-23 goalkeeper Amrinder Singh.
"We can improve in a lot of areas. I am very happy with how we played with ten men. Amrinder is a very young goalkeeper and played really well."
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