ISL 2017-18: Ranko Popovic - After the shock, it is anti-shock

The Delhi Dynamos' coach Miguel Portugal predicted that his team would have been in the playoffs if Manuel Arana and Matias Mirabaje played each game.

FC Pune City, the second team to register their entry into the Indian Super League (ISL) IV playoffs travel to Delhi in hopes of recovering from a 4-0 thrashing at home to FC Goa in the last game.

"After the shock, it is the anti-shock. We have to come out and do what we were doing before the last shock. I was warning my players of this. It is not because I am intelligent or anything but it so happens that people tend to relax. Sometimes, it is good to feel these as it adds experience," said head coach Ranko Popovic on the eve of their final league game.

He added, "We have felt it and felt it hard. Tomorrow, we have the opportunity to demonstrate it was an accident. If it happens again, we have to ask our ourselves questions. The problem will be not the loss, but the way we lost."

"There was nothing fantastic, everything was wrong in the last game. Sometimes the players play without desire and we have to learn from that. Of course, it is important to win (tomorrow). But, what matters is the way you do it."

The Serbian could not stop himself from praising Dynamos' Uche who has scored nine goals in his last seven games. "You have to tell good things about him (Uche). He pushes results and as a person who loves football, you have to congratulate him even though he comes up against you.

"His headed goal (against Kerala Blasters) was one of the most beautiful moments of the league. The way he stayed up and headed the goal was fantastic. Brilliant player, his fitness is also better (now)."

His counterpart Miguel Angel Portugal is in a better frame of minds having gone up the ladder (now eighth) from being bottom for more than six weeks. "The mood is very good. Winning is important. We must try and force a win, that will make us happy, that is football. Of course, we are happy, three wins and two draws in last 5 matches.I know Pune are playing to keep the second position, but my team is playing to be happy," he said.

"Four games in 10 days, we must use all players. It is impossible for one player to play each and every minute. I am happy that the players who are being brought on are making a good performance. It is good for the team," added the former Real Madrid Technical Director.

Speaking on Manuel Arana (a winter transfer window signing from FC Goa), the Spaniard proclaimed that his side could have had a better outing this season of his key players were fit throughout. "Arana is a big player. He is very important for us. If Martias (Mirabaje) and Kalu (Uche) did not have any injuries and Arana played for us from the start, Delhi would have been in the playoff places," quipped Portugal.

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