FC Pune City assistant coach Miguel insists his team prepared adequately for life without chief coach Antonio Habas who remains suspended for the first four matches in ISL-3, even as Kerala Blasters come calling for their next encounter here tomorrow.
Since the Hero Indian Super League kicked off, FC Pune City have found themselves in a spot of bother.
FC Pune City have three points from three matches and will have to take their game to a different level to arrest the consecutive losses at home as they host Kerala Blasters at Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium in Balewadi.
Pune were bristling with confidence after scoring a 90th minute winner against FC Goa in Goa but at home they have been unable to secure a single point, losing to Mumbai City FC in the Maharashtra Derby and then going down against NorthEast United FC in the last game.
“We need to improve in all areas. I can’t say one area we need to improve in, we need to improve in many areas. But it is our job. We will work hard and we will improve,” said the assistant coach.
FC Pune City will miss the services of Eduardo Fereira for the clash against Kerala Blasters after the defender was sent off against NorthEast United FC. The defensive duties were then assigned to marquee Mohamed Sissoko and the former Liverpool midfielder did an appreciable job.
“Sissoko’s performances have been good. He played well in both positions, in central midfield and centre back,” said Miguel.
Chief coach Habas will have to sit out for one final game to serve his four-match suspension but it could be difficult for him to watch his team again from the stands in Pune as Kerala Blasters will be high on confidence after securing their first win in the league and that too against high-flying Mumbai City FC.
Kerala Blasters were struggling with form ahead of their fourth-round clash against Mumbai but a second-half goal from Michael Chopra has changed the mood dramatically.
“I don’t believe in setting up targets. Game by game I try to plan and win the game. The goal that Atletico de Kolkata scored against us was a deflected shot. It seemed a little cruel to us. But the points would obviously make a difference. That’s how it is. Every game is going to come thick and fast now, so we have to collect as many points as possible. Once we come into rhythm we will keep winning,” said Kerala Blasters manager Steve Coppell.
Kerala Blasters have kept two clean sheets in a row and will be hugely encouraged by the central defensive partnership of marquee Aaron Hughes and Cedric Hengbart, both of whom look in fine form.