After suffering a loss in their last game, FC Pune City coach Ranko Popovic expressed frustration at his side’s mixed start to the Indian Super League (ISL) campaign which has seen them win two and lose two.
“Look, I don’t like this kind of mix. Better mix is if we can win one game at home, and another away, but until now, that is not the case. Like I said, I expect a really exciting match tomorrow, and I also expect us to do better. We are doing well, and maybe our best game was the last one (against Chennaiyin FC) but we lost 1-0,” he said at the pre-match press-conference on Saturday.
“We didn’t give many chances to the opponent, but we must work a bit on our concentration in key moments. If we do that, I think we have a good chance to get a good result tomorrow,” Popovic added.
The Serbian’s opponents on Sunday will be Jamshedpur FC who are yet to concede a single goal in the ISL so far and Popovic praised the defensive organization showed by Steve Coppell’s men.
“We are in the beginning of the league I don’t think there is much difference between the clubs, but, if I have to speak about Jamshedpur, I can say that they are probably the best organised team defensively. If you see the results that they have; they have not conceded a goal up till now, and that speaks for itself. They play really well, and it will not be easy for us, but we have to find a way to score goals, and it will be a challenge for us,” he stated.
The Serbian tactician admitted that his side was carrying a few injuries though he did not reveal the names of the injured players.
“Unfortunately, like every side, we have a few injury issues, and some guys with fever. First thing that I look at after every match is, how many players will I have for training tomorrow? But I think that now we are better, and our fitness is much better, and I hope we will be more stable in the future. But until now, we have had injuries, and for tomorrow as well, some are injured, and some are sick,” he stated.
Popovic refused to blame the pitch conditions at Jamshedpur despite Coppell asking for a better playing surface for his team.
“The condition is the same for both teams. As a club, we must have respect for all the people that are on the pitch, and are trying to make it good for the match tomorrow. If I came here, and saw nobody there, then I would have been angry, because the pitch was bad. But, now I saw the people there who are working day and night.
"I hope everyone is doing their best, and tomorrow’s pitch will be in good condition to allow some good football. Otherwise, for the players, they have an excuse if they don’t have a perfect pitch – if they make some mistakes, they can blame it on the pitch. But we must accept it, and try to give our best effort for a good game tomorrow,” the Pune City coach said.