FC Pune City coach Pradhyum Reddy indicated that Kerala Blasters’ decision to field Sandesh Jhingan as a right-back worked in the Stallions’ favour on Saturday as they won 1-0 at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Kochi.
Ashique Kuruniyan had Jhingan in all sorts of trouble on the wings and Reddy was quick to point that out after the match.
“We did our homework. We have seen the way Kerala played the last couple of games. We wanted to exploit the fact that Jhingan played out of position. The idea was to exploit those gaps.
It was Ashique who played in Marcelinho before the Brazilian scored the winner.
“Ashique was a one trick pony last season and he has added end product to his game. There is a reason why he is breaking into the national team and the squad. He can do both the attacking and defending side well. I thought he was fantastic today,” Reddy added.
The former Bengaluru FC assistant coach refused to rule out a push for the playoff spot after notching their second win of the season.
“With any coach, you try to win every single game. That is always the plan. We can't control what the team above us does. We just have to keep winning.”
Reddy also explained why he chose to start the game with just four foreigners and praised the work done by Marko Stankovic after coming on in the second half.
“The reason we started with four foreigners was that we wanted tactical flexibility. We wanted options on the table for us. In the past, in the first few games, we were making double substitutions to get a foreigner on.
“Kochi is a very tough place to play. For us, it is particularly draining. We needed fresh legs in midfield. Marko helped slow the game down after coming on.”
The 42-year-old also went on to praise the efforts of Iain Hume who toiled away hard, while leading the pack against his former team who had refused to offer him a contract extension after an injury last season.
“The desire that he has, he wanted to prove in front of the fans that he has still got it. The adrenaline gave him that extra 15 minutes to get the old legs going again.”
However, Reddy was left frustrated after Sahil Panwar picked up a booking, ruling him out of Pune’s next game.
“We have lost a lot of soldiers now. It is gonna be tough. Maybe someone new will come at left-back.”