FC Pune City were dealt with a crushing blow at the hands of Mumbai City as a Matias Defederico goal in the 69th minute relegated the hosts to a 1-0 defeat in their ISL 2016 campaign opener at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune.
Assistant coach Miguel, who is in charge of the Pune team until the suspension for coach Antonio Habas ends, rued the missed opportunities that allowed the visitors to snatch a victory.
“We had three-four chances to score a goal one-vie-one against the goalkeeper. Even if we had scored, we didn’t play well. But we had the chances to win the game. It was a typical game for the first match of the league after preseason. Both team will only improve from here on out,” said Miguel.
Both teams looked set on scoring goals but Pune, despite having multiple chances in front of goal, were unable to capitalise on their opportunities.
"I think we didn’t play good but we kept our pace and intensity until the last minute. We made 4-5 chance against Mumbai – that is a positive. We played sometimes with good, right combinations,” stated Miguel.
“Obviously we have to improve but we can take a lot of positives from the team. Even without the coach on the bench. You have to understand that 80 percent of the players are new. We need to play more games and the team will improve,” Miguel added.
Pune's new signing Moussa Sissoko did not feature in the Maharashtra derby and when asked about his availability and about injured marquee player Eidur Gudjohnsen, Miguel said, “We took our time and chose who we thought was a good marquee player for us. When we lost Eidur then obviously we had a problem because of the lack of a striker,"
“Obviously we have good strikers in our team and now we have a new marquee. He has been here for the past three-four days and will take part in the other games for us,” Miguel said.
The highlight of the post-match press conference was an outburst of sorts by Miguel. Referring to a headline published in the media, the assistant manager expressed his dismay by saying, “Something was wrong in the media. Someone put something wrong. This league is here to improve the soccer (football) in India. That includes coaches, marquees, players, physios and also journalists. If I told something, they can’t quote something wrong.”
“When asked about Diego Forlan yesterday I was very clear. I said ‘we are here – we know who Forlan is’ and someone wrote ‘coach asked who is Forlan’ -- I’m not stupid. I respect Forlan a lot. My team played against Forlan when I was in La Liga. He was one of the top scorers in the last 15-20 years in soccer – one of the top players in this industry,” Miguel said.
FC Pune City’s next game will be away at the (Jawaharlal Nehru) Fatorda Stadium where they take on Brazilian legend Zico’s FC Goa on 8 October.