Comfortably placed in the top-half in the I-League at the moment, Pune FC are on a dream run at the moment. Coach Derrick Pereira spoke to AIFF on his team’s chances, their strategies and future targets. Excerpts:
The start wasn’t good for your team. But since Round 6, things have changed. What’s the secret?
I attribute it to the hard work and determination. It’s not about just the team but also about all the other people involved with. The target stays the same – to get better with every round.
Being a former player, how much does help to understand the psyche of a player?
When you have the experience of being a player, you ought to understand better as to what goes on in a player’s mind. It helps you to address the needs of players, to plan your strategy according to the condition and the player’s capabilities.
Injuries to some key players did hit you hard. How did you cope up with it?
Injuries to Keita Manjdou and Subrata Paul at the start of the season put us in a bad situation. But then we got Abhra Mondol on loan. Furthermore, Keita’s comeback made us stronger. The combination of Jeje Lalpekhlua and Keita upfront with Subhash Singh backing them up has worked wonders for us.
Has the difference between the teams in the I-League narrowed?
There is not much difference among the teams playing in the League at the moment. Just the other day, Sporting Clube beat Mohun Bagan. Anyone can beat any given team if they stick to their plans and play as a team.
Whom do you consider as your biggest threat?
Every new match we have a new rival. We want to capture the top slot and whoever comes in way stays our threat.