FC Pune City’s chances of making it to the play-offs might only be mathematical. But the Stallions are enjoying themselves right now and are now on a five-game unbeaten run.
Head coach Phil Brown, who took over during the winter break, was understandably elated with his team’s performance in their 4-1 win over Jamshedpur FC on Saturday. But he did admit that the hosts did put them under a lot of duress during the early stages of the game.
He said - “Truth be told, Jamshedpur’s start against us was one of the best we’ve ever faced. Before we scored, I thought they were the best team. They were passing the ball with ease and wherever they wanted to. They hit the crossbar in the early stages of the game and that was the turning point, for me.
“I was about to change our system to try and counter Jamshedpur’s system but I did not. We had a couple of counter attacks and I believed that Iain Hume, Robin Singh and Marcelinho are capable of scoring goals and we just need to bring the ball to them. When the team is enjoying the play so much, they forget about defending sometimes.”
While the front three were basking in the spotlight, Brown made it sure that the hardwork of the entire team did not go unnoticed.
“It wasn’t just the front three today, the work-rate and organisation of the team was something to admire. The first goal was very important. I think one or two Jamshedpur heads went down. I think the second goal killed the spirit of Jamshedpur and it came at the right time – right before half-time. But no team has ever won a game at half-time. So, you need to come back with the same mentality and that’s what we did,” he exclaimed.
The Englishman admitted that he has no information on Marcelinho’s potential suspension after picking up a fourth yellow card and spoke about how the forward has been key to Pune’s success in the past few weeks.
“We don’t have any update (on Marcelinho’s suspension). I hope he won’t be suspended. He’s a big part of ISL and our game. Hume and Robin have a good partnership. But when you have Marcelinho in the pockets, you can cause any team within and outside the country a lot of problems.”
The Englishman believes that the players have assimilated his style of play and that has helped them perform well.
“When you go into a club, you take over a problem and I don’t think I inherited a problem. I inherited a team that won two games. First, I had to understand the league as it was new to me. I had four weeks to work with these players. That was my time to get through to the players that the basics of Phil Brown is different from that of other coaches.
“My basics are different from that of Cesar (Ferrando) but that does not make me right and him wrong just because we won the game. When the players buy into your style of football, I think they have a very good chance and that’s what they have done. The players have bought into my way of playing rather than their previous coach’s,” Brown concluded.