ISL 2018-19: Pune City's Phil Brown banking on counter-attacks against NorthEast United

Phil Brown Marko Stankovic Chennaiyin Pune City
The FC Pune City coach has acknowledged the contributions of Pradhyum Reddy...

Phil Brown has led Pune City to three wins in four games after joining as head coach in January. The Stallions are unbeaten since the defeat to Bengaluru FC in November and is set take on NorthEast United in the Indian Super League (ISL) on Wednesday in Guwahati. 

"It's getting better as I'm getting used to it," he said. "The build-up to the games, the technical ability of the teams, the technical awareness of the coaches. I think our biggest test was Jamshedpur in the last game because of the technicality of their team. They had a good way about with their possession.

"I'm impressed with the group that I am working with, the players have taken to my methods very well. As a coach, you're delighted with that. Results take a lot of the precedence on how you coach."

He added, "If you're losing on a regular basis, then your coaching methods would be questioned. But if you're winning and playing well, and putting smiles on people's faces, then your coaching methods will be applauded. I've spoken with all three coaches (John Gregory, Steve Coppell and Cesar Ferrando) and they were very complimentary about the way we played.

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"I think we have good goals in our team and when you got that as a coach, then you can apply your methods with a lot of belief and confidence. The Indian players, in particular, have taken to that."

Technically, Pune City are still in the race for the playoffs but they rely on other teams dropping points. For the turnaround, Brown heaped praise on the work done by interim coach Pradhyum Reddy before his arrival at the club.

"I have to thank the interim coach (Pradhyum Reddy) for the methods that he applied before I arrived. It got us into a winning mentality before I arrived. So waving a magic wand is all well and good. It's nice to be able to do that if you have a magic wand but I don't. I just believe in my methods. I think that comes out in the way I coach my players and I think they are enjoying it.

Pradhyum Reddy FC Pune City NorthEast United ISL 2018-19

"It won't be easy tomorrow (Wednesday) night. It's going to be a difficult game. We know their strengths. We hopefully know their weaknesses as well, but they might be approaching the game in a different manner because of the way we are winning games. We have applied ourselves quite well in the last five-to-six games and given ourselves a chance. If we bring our belief and confidence to the party tomorrow night, then fingers crossed, may we win the game again."

The former Hull City manager's only concern is that Marcelinho is suspended for the tie.

"Our good moment is slightly scarred because of the Marcelinho suspension. That takes away a lot of creativity from our team. So maybe our methods tomorrow night might be a little more resilient and strong in defence. And then, hopefully, the counter-attack will benefit us.

"We know that the opposition will be strong and motivated, but I don't think you'll get a more motivated team than Pune at the moment because we have to win all games to try and get into the playoffs. If we win the next one, then it gives us another chance and a little bit more hope that we can qualify for the playoffs," Brown emphasised.

Trevor Morgan Robin Singh East Bengal I-League 2017

Robin Singh has come to life in front of goal recently and scored a brace against Jamshedpur last week. "I think the backroom staff is very important where Robin is concerned. He looks like a player who needs an arm around him a lot of times. He needs to have a goal to help his confidence and now he's got three in the last two games. Who knows how far he can take this. He's playing with a renewed belief in his own ability. He's walking around sometimes with his head in the clouds and we need to bring it down," Brown continued.

"The most important thing where Robin is concerned is his hard work. He's got a good partner alongside in Iain Hume, who is working equally as hard. And then Marcelinho is stepping up with regards to hard work and quality. When you got a front three who do that, then every opposition will defend resolutely and would find it hard for 90 minutes."