Derrick Pereira: We have to strengthen our bench

The Goan coach is pleased with his side’s performances but does believe that they need to shore up their squad in key areas…

Derrick Pereira praised his side’s performance in the second half against Mumbai FC as they downed the hosts 3-1 last weekend.

The first half saw the teams locked into a 0-0 affair before Peiera’s inspired substitutions took the game away from Mumbai FC after the break.

“No (I wasn’t pleased with our performance in the first half) although we kept our shape well in defense. We didn't allow them spaces behind, but going forward we struggled. Our midfield did not function the way we used to usually function. Clifton [Dias] got a knock on his back. He was tackled thrice by Dane [Pereira]. Then he had a pain in the thigh, so we had to get Francis [Fernandes] in the center. Then there was some stability in the midfield,” He explained the tactical switch.

“When Karma [Tsewang] and Claude [Gnakpa] went in, we put some pressure on them (Mumbai FC). We had a lot of spaces upfront. We created a lot of chances. [I'm] happy the way we played in the second half. We kept the ball well, the way we play usually. I'm happy with these three points, because we got three tough matches in Kolkata [against Mohun Bagan, United SC and East Bengal]. So this will help us in building our confidence for the future matches,” he added.

The former Pune FC coach acknowledged that it was Karma Tsewang and Claude Gnakpa who made te difference for his side and put pressure on the Mumbai FC back-line who seemed untroubled in the first 45 minutes.

“Francis and Rocus [Lamare] controlled the proceedings well and when Claude went in, Mumbai FC had more pressure on their defense. The substitutions I think made the difference. Karma is yet to settle in our team. Francis and Gilbert [Oliveira] are doing well on the flanks. So he (Karma) has to work hard for his place, which he is doing and I'm very confident that we have somebody on the bench who can go and change the game.

“He (Karma) was better than his usual self. Usually he holds on to the ball, but today he was putting in crosses and held on to the ball at the right time,” he mentioned.

Salgaocar FC find themselves on top of the I-League standings alongside Bengaluru FC and are one of the few unbeaten sides in the I-League.

“I'm thankful to the Almighty. We have got some good results. We played well overall. We had injury problems and we are yet to settle down as a team. We have to strengthen the bench as well and if you want to go all the way. You have to take care of the players so that they keep up to that level,” he opined.

Gnapka started from the bench and Pereira explained his decision and said, “He had a bad stomach before the game and had a shoulder problem also.”

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