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ISL 2017-18: FC Pune City assistant coach Vladica Grujic rates ATK highly

1:01 am AEDT 20/1/18
Vladica Grujic FC Pune City
FC Pune City would look to do the double over ATK at the Balewadi Stadium on Saturday...

FC Pune City assistant coach Vladica Grujic spoke highly of reigning Indian Super League (ISL) champions ATK, whom they will host at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune on Saturday evening.

The Orange and Purple brigade are placed third on the ISL table with 16 points from 10 matches however, they haven’t picked three points from their last two matches. They will look to get back to winning ways when they come up against the Kolkata outfit whom they had comprehensibly defeated in the away fixture 4-1.

"ATK are the champions from last year. They are a strong opponent. We know how they play. They have some good players like Zequinha, Hitesh Sharma and Conor Thomas. We have to mobilize all our resources to win the game tomorrow (Saturday)," said Grujic.

"Every game is a new challenge. We have quality but they (ATK) are also improving in every match. We have to be at our highest level to win," added the Serbian.

The second-in-command at Pune City revealed that Brazilian Marcelinho is fit and available for selection but did not give away whether new signings Manuel Jesus Ortiz Toribio and Austrian Marko Stankovic will feature against ATK.

Pune have conceded 11 goals this season of which 10 have come after the break which highlights a dip in their performance in the second half.

"I cannot say what I think. When a team is down, you need a player to do something special. Some our players had injuries while some had yellow cards. We have to try to maintain the same level throughout the 90 minutes.

“In the previous match (against Chennaiyin FC), we were the better team yet we lost. In the first half we had two-to-three chances to score. We did not take the chances and you concede one goal to lose. But this is football as on some days you play don't well and still win and on some you lose in spite of playing well," concluded the FC Pune City assistant coach.