ISL 2017: ''The rules are always different for FC Pune City'' says coach Popovic after huge win
It was a tense evening at the Fatorda stadium filled with a deafening atmosphere, missed opportunities, heated verbal exchanges between players and officials and 2 great teams on show. In the end it was FC Pune City that became the first team to defeat FC Goa at home and the first team to keep a clean sheet against the best attacking team in the league and stop them in their tracks.
Pune head coach Ranko Popovic came up with a plan to contain the hosts and beat them at their own game. A very jubilant Popovic said ''We played against the best team here, the game was open and both sides had chances. I’m happy because the guys are doing well and didn’t lose control. There were some terrible mistakes but luckily the game went our way like I said yesterday the team who makes the least mistakes would prevail''
The Stallions are also the only team in the ISL to keep a clean sheet vs the Gaurs. He explained his simple tactic for the game by saying ‘’This is a team that likes to have the ball, don’t give them the ball and they will have problems. I told my team to fight and keep pushing, especially when you don’t have the ball, make sure you regain possession.’’
''They are a good team, anyone who knows football knows that FC Goa are a great team. They score 4-5 goals a game, but the fact is they scored 0 today. The key is to not let them score because once they score that changes the whole game’’ he added.
Popovic also feels that since the season began, his team has been on the receiving end far too often when it comes to decisions and that referees have been harsh with his team. Yesterday’s game was no different with the coach being slightly more vocal and jumping to the defense of his players and justifying why they were not wrong in arguing with the referee, he said ‘’ It seems like the rules are always different for FC Pune City. Two of our players were sent off for nothing and there have been many wrong decisions in the past but that was in the past. Today, we played a great game in a fantastic atmosphere and beautiful stadium with 2 great teams.’’
''But, my impression was we played a match that was 11 vs 11 but with 4 jokers. 4 jokers wearing yellow. Jokers normally play for both teams but today they played for only one side, in the blue. If you want to be correct, you must say the truth and the truth is the Number 5 (Ahmed Jahouh) had to be sent off in the first 10-15 mins but anyway, I’m very happy because we behaved like gentlemen and didn’t make any wrong fouls. We must protect ourselves if no one respects us’’ said Coach Popovic who felt relieved that his team was able to defeat FC Goa even with the supposed decisions that went against his team.
Popovic believes that his side could do well with better support
The manager was also full of praise for the Goan support and wished that his fans back home could emulate the atmosphere that the Goans created ‘’We are proud of our supporters and we are working hard to keep them happy, we appreciate the fans (Orange Army) that came out today to Goa to support, but you could say we are a bit jealous of the Goan support simply because we don’t have support like this back home."
"Our people and supporters are a bit sleepy and it is our job to keep playing great football to wake them up and get them out in full support. Of course, we cannot have 18,000 fans but if we can have 8,000-10,000 that would make us happy. I’m looking forward to the day when the Goan supporters come out to Pune, maybe you can fill our stadium," Popovic commented.