ISL semfinal (Leg-1): Calm but focused, FC Pune City wear Popovic vibe ahead of big showdown
Ahead of team’s biggest football match to date, FC Pune City has bullishness under control... just like coach Popovic wants.Updated: Mar 06, 2018 23:13 IST
Pune Calm but focused, is the mood. Calm but focused, is the vibe. Calm but focused, is the game plan. Welcome to FC Pune City. Ranko Popovic, head coach is not around as HT interacts with players ahead of their Indian Super League (ISL) semifinal first-leg showdown against FC Bengaluru today at the Shiv Chhatrapati Shivaji stadium in Balewadi. However, he had insisted to HT in an earlier interview that he had the bullishness about winning under control. “We’re aware that we’ve created history. Now it’s time to build on it”, reads the pre-game note of the first coach to successfully guide the Maratha Stallions to the ISL semi-finals. It is undoubtedly a moment to savour for the Serbian pragmatist.
Much like their manager, the FCPC players seem to be in a serene pool of zen, unfazed ahead of their big game against Bengaluru FC.
“The boys are excited and morale is high. It’s a big game, not only for us, but for the rest of Pune as it’s the first time they have made it to the semi-finals. The key for us is to keep focused and not try and do anything different as the results have been good,” says FC Pune City midfielder Marcos Tebar.
While Tebar was interacting exclusively with Hindustan Times, his midfield compatriot Adil Khan was busy answering questions from the FC Pune City faithful on Facebook Live.
Once his session was finished, he stepped in to have a word.
“The mood in the dressing room, as you can expect is ecstatic. The boys are extremely happy to make it to the top four, but now the real competition begins. Probably with us qualifying, fans would now start to have an affinity towards the game and join in to support us in even larger numbers. On a personal note, playing my first ISL season and making it to the semis is like a dream come true,” says Khan.
While there is an air of excitement in and around the dressing room, there are no additional training drills or sessions for players as Popovic wants his boys to treat this game as just another league game, trying to avoid the costly errors that have proven to be fatal in the league stages.
After getting done with their regular, daily training session which concludes at noon, players warm down and return to the hotel to take the rest of the day off, particularly to catch up on as much rest as possible ahead of the big game the following day.