Mike Snoei: When you see teams defend against us, maybe they are afraid of some of our players

The Dutchman believes that his side can improve on various fronts despite them having had a good start to this season’s I-League…

Mike Snoei, the Pune FC gaffer, admitted that it was difficult for his side to find a way past the Churchill Brothers defense following their 1-0 win on Sunday.

“It was very difficult to find an opening in the Churchill Brothers team, especially in the first half. Their defense was made up of five players and they only came here for one point.

“We scored a fantastic goal from Calum [Angus]. Then you can see that Churchill Brothers can be dangerous in offense, but only when it is 1-0 they attack. You can see that they also have the quality to score a goal. I was surprised that they played so defensively in the first half.”

He acknowledged that his side didn’t have their best outing as a few players weren’t up to the mark for a variety of reasons.

“Nikhil [Kadam] was not at his best form. We had some problems with our right full-back (Othallo Tabia) - he was struggling with his ankle almost from the beginning.

I think [Thongkhosiem] Haokip did a fantastic job but he didn't get too much of support. Every control in the first half was good from him. Douhou [Pierre] can also play better. So in all we speak about three players upfront who were struggling in this game to find an opening. They were not bad, but you expect more, because every time it's a little bit better. Today was not our best game,” said Snoei.

Under the Dutchman, Pune FC have given several youngsters an opportunity to make a mark as he intends to bring down the average age of the squad.

“We can improve in a lot of things. I tell this to everybody all the time - The owner, the managers, and everybody. We can improve a lot. If you see the average age of our boys, we can improve a lot.

“But I'm happy with my guys – Ganeshan [Dhanpal] and Mumtaz [Akhtar] who are our under-23 players, Gurjinder [Kumar] – 23 year old, Nikhil is under 23. You cannot expect that they play a fantastic match in every game. [You] must make some steps. Vellington [Rocha] is also under 23. There is no pressure for them. We only want them to improve by working very hard,” he explained.

Pune FC are level on points with Salgaocar FC and Bengaluru FC at the top of the table with each having played four games.

“I don't look at the table. I only look at the progress that we make. I don't because at this moment you don't get a trophy. You get a trophy only at the end,” he said.

“I'm happy with our progress and I'm happy with winning difficult games like these because it's Churchill Brothers. We must respect this club. This is a big club, a huge club and when you can win games like these. When you see that teams defend against us like this, it’s because they are maybe afraid of some players. I think we deserve a compliment for today.”

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