It is always good to see a coach come out and admit a need for improvement after his team has been defeated and that is what Cesar Ferrando did on Wednesday. The Spanish coach saw his Jamshedpur side taste defeat for the first time this season against FC Pune City, a team that was winless going into the fixture.
Although Jamshedpur boasted an 'unbeaten' tag for the first seven games of the season, they had registered five draws, the most by any team in the league so far. This points to a concern that Ferrando will need to address as soon as possible.
The Men of Steel had their chances to score throughout the game against Pune City and it was not a dominant performance by either team. But their shortcomings at the back were exposed by a team that had the joy of welcoming back two of their key foreign players.
Tiri has been a one-man-army for Jamshedpur in defence since the start of the season. He impressed in the first few matches but without constant support from the rest of the defence, even a player as good as Tiri would find it difficult to defend against players like Marcelinho and Diego Carlos.
Ferrando is yet to decide upon his first-choice back four. While Tiri has played every single minute of Jamshedpur's campaign so far, he has had to play with three different partners at centre-back.
|vs Mumbai City||Yumnam Raju, Tiri, Raju Gaikwad, Bikash Jairu|
|vs Bengaluru FC||Yumnam Raju, Tiri, Raju Gaikwad, Bikash Jairu|
|vs ATK||Robin Gurung, Tiri, Pratik Chowdhury, Yumnam Raju|
|vs NorthEast||Robin Gurung, Tiri, Pratik Chowdhury, Dhanachandra Singh|
|vs Kerala Blasters||Yumnam Raju, Tiri, Sanjay Balmuchu, Dhanachandra Singh|
|vs Goa||Robin Gurung, Tiri, Pratik Chowdhury, Bikash Jairu|
|vs Delhi Dynamos||Robin Gurung, Tiri, Pratik Chowdhury,Bikash Jairu|
|vs Pune City||Robin Gurung, Tiri, Raju Gaikwad, Bikash Jairu|
The dependence on Tiri is only made worse by the team's reliance on their double pivot to control the match. Mario Arques and Memo have combined brilliantly in front of the back four and that has allowed the team to boss the middle third of the field and dominate most of their matches.
The midfield's off-days puts extra pressure on the defenders and they are not organized or balanced enough to deal with it. As a result, the defence will concede and the opponents will take advantage, just like the Stallions did.
Adil Khan and Jonathan Vila worked their socks off to restrict Arques and Memo and when Marko Stankovic came on in the second half, the hosts had more quality on the ball to find a match-winner. The substitute delivered an excellent corner-kick that Matt Mills headed home to seal Pune's first win of the season. The player who lost Mills in the set-piece was Raju Gaikwad.
Tiri and co. are left handicapped due to the lack of balance in the team. Mario Arques has been excellent this season and he can have an off-day but the constant shuffling of the defence needs to stop. However, you do feel for Ferrando as he lacks quality at the back.