ISL 2017: FC Pune City coach Ranko Popovic compares atmosphere at Salt Lake Stadium to Champions League game
After the high of beating the champions ATK in their own den, FC Pune City face another gruelling test, this time on their home turf against rivals Mumbai City FC. The first Maharashtra derby of ISL 2017 is set to be played on Wednesday and as expected, the Stallions' boss Ranko Popovic was in high spirits for the next game and lauded the boys for their performance against ATK.
Reflecting on the 4-1 win away at the Salt Lake stadium, Popovic was quipped saying, "It was truly a great performance after the loss in the opening game. We were happy with the display in the first match but not at all content with the result. But we rose to the occasion and won in a fantastic fashion against ATK."
This was just Pune City's fourth away win in the ISL history and also the first time that any team had scored four goals against the Kolkata side. The Pune boss asserted the fact that his side needs to win regularly on the road. He also suggested that the mentality of his players was on the right track which for him, is the most important aspect of the game.
Popovic was also in awe of the Kolkata crowd in Pune's last game and compared the atmosphere at the Salt Lake stadium to a World Cup or a Champions League game. He said, "I loved the atmosphere in Kolkata but I also admire the ambience of the stadium here in Pune. If a crowd is against you the best way to silence them is by performing well on the field and that is exactly what we did!"
Coming back to the game, Popovic reflected that he rates Mumbai City highly but is not thinking of the opposition too much at the moment. The Serbian coach said that the focus of his team is just on recovering and refreshing for their next game which comes just after 72 hours.
For the Stallions, Jewel Raja will miss out the derby after the midfielder sustained an injury in the warm-up exercises against Delhi Dynamos. Popovic reserved special praise for Baljit Sahni who had to play as a right back against ATK. The boss named Sahni as Pune's utility player and a go-to guy and also suggested that he might continue playing Sahni in his new found position.