The Moroccan coach stated that his team's preparations for the game against Pune FC hasn't been in the most conducive environment...
Mohun Bagan are engulfed in troubles as they lie tenth on the table with a mere 15 points to show in 14 matches. They have scored the least number of goals (11) this term but jointly hold the distinction alongside Pune FC of having given away only 12 at the other end.
Speculation is rife that should the Mariners fail to win against the Red Lizards on Saturday, coach Karim Bencherifa would be handed the pink slip.
“It is certainly not the best atmosphere to prepare for an important game. I have nothing to say about this as it is going on since the game against United SC. Every game seems to be my last. But I don’t want to elaborate on that. Definitely it is affecting the players,” he explained.
Speaking on his opponents, Bencherifa refused to comment on the spat of words between him and Pune FC coach Mike Snoei earlier this season. He referred to Pune FC as a “complete team.”
“Pune FC is a strong team. It’s a settled team because the build-up started four years back. There is a lot of continuity there. They have a lot of good players. For me, their key players are Calum Angus. I admire him as I like defenders who are good with the ball and can distribute well. He knows how to position himself on the field. When Pune have the ball, he is like an extra midfielder.
“Douhou Pierre is a very key player as he is the one who builds up the game and finds the strikers. As a whole, it is a complete and physical team.”
Manish Bhargav’s injury has further limited Bencherifa’s options but the Moroccan chose to highlight that none of his players on the treatment table have a muscle problem.
“Zakeer (Mundampara) has a shoulder injury. I think Bagan has one of the fittest teams as we don’t have any muscle injuries. Bhargav’s foot injury, Adil’s (Khan) ankle – injuries where you can do nothing. It leaves me with few limitations on the flanks and midfield but we have to deal with it.”
Odafa Okolie has only scored a goal this term from six matches. However Bencherifa backed his skipper to come good.
“Odafa needs confidence and needs a few goals to get that. Fitness-wise he is okay.”
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