In a game that saw two teams which have enjoyed contrasting fortunes in the Indian Super League (ISL) lock horns, Pune City came out on top to win their first game of the season.
A 2-1 defeat meant that Jamshedpur’s unbeaten streak since the start of the season came to an end. Pune’s interim coach Pradhyum Reddy acknowledged the quality of his opponents and praised his players in the process.
“Jamshedpur are a tough team to beat and I could see why they were unbeaten in the league going into this game. It took a lot of hard work from every player on the field. We have shown that we can get through a lot worse with hard work.”
Ashique Kuruniyan had a good outing against Jamshedpur and Reddy was quick to shower the 21-year-old with praise.
“I’m really glad about Ashique’s performances. When you compare it with last season, he has been more consistent now. He has a lot of talent. I think he was fantastic today and was unlucky not to have a goal to his name.”
The stand-in coach commented on how a combination of fixture congestion, injuries and suspensions hurt his team’s chances before the international break. With enough time to sit back and think about changes, Reddy believes that the team can get back on track.
“As a coach, it’s my job to change the players on the field and prepare them for the next match. We take it one match at a time and now we have some time to sit and think about what we can do. This wasn’t the case before when we had four games in 14 days.
"Also, we didn’t have all our players available with some players always missing due to injuries or suspension. This was the first time I had the full squad to choose from and you can see the difference in the way the boys have played.”
Speaking about the chemistry between Marcelinho and Diego Carlos, Reddy mentioned that circumstances beyond their control prevented them from playing together often this season. Their on-field chemistry will be crucial now that the entire squad is fit and available.
“There are certain players who have a good chemistry and understand how to play with each other. Either of the players (Marcelinho and Diego Carlos) have missed out on playing together in a few games, given they have missed five games combined. Obviously, it will affect any team when a technical player and top scorer miss out on playing together.”