Iain Hume: We believe we can make top four

FC Pune City finally got their maiden win of the season, albeit at the eighth time of asking against Jamshedpur FC. The win also coincided with the return of Iain Hume to the Stallions squad, signaling the psychological effect the Canadian can have on the squad’s morale.

Ahead of their home fixture against NorthEast United, indiansuperleague.com caught up for an exclusive interview with the striker to get his thoughts on a variety of topics. Here are a few excerpts.

Thoughts on the game against Jamshedpur FC

It was a long time coming. Me personally, nine months without a match. It was 292 days since I last touched a field in a competitive game. So, that was massive for me personally, just to get over that last hurdle. But, for the team to get the first win, it was something we deserved. I think, we deserved all three points against Jamshedpur FC, who are a very good side which I think we did everything that was in our game plan. They're a good side and they have proven it since then. But everything we did that night was near enough perfect and okay, we missed out on a couple of chances but everything else we did on the field as far as chances we got, defensive opportunities to stop them from doing things, I think everything went down to a T which was perfect. So, yes we were dying to get the win and we obviously didn't have one this season. Not through the lack of hard work, we have worked the same way this last two weeks like we have done the first six weeks but everything just came together this time and we had a little stroke of luck and some quality opportunities we had on both ends of the field. The final product is there and we came out with three points and we came out with smiles on our faces.

Has the injury affected your game?

I don't think so. I am not going to try and let it change my game. I had the career I had through not changing. Even when I hit my head, I came the same player I was before I got injured. So now, I am looking forward to doing the same thing. This is probably a little harder to come back from, obviously fitness side of things, mechanical side of things with my knee. Got over that, I am expecting some minor setbacks which is normal but that the moment everything is smooth sailing and I have a smile on my face and I am back on the field and I am going to continue doing what I do.

How do you think Hero ISL has evolved through the years?

I think on every point, it's been a great five years. First and foremost you look at the national team and you look at their world ranking, going from what it was, I think 161 when the Hero ISL started and now they're like 97 and that alone is enough to say these things have evolved but from the inside you look at the quality of players and the average age of players, the athleticism and the everything about footballers. The old guard, the older players as good as they were now, unfortunately, being pushed out because the young players are coming through and they're all good.  There's not one random player coming through and all you think is this guy is going to be good. You're getting 10, 15 a season and I think is a massive positive knack from the coaching that they're bringing in, they're starting younger, the grassroots levels, the infrastructure and the training facilities are getting better and I think it is all coming together, working the way the original plan was.

Do you think FC Pune City has the chance to be in the top four?

It's a long way away. We still have the belief and we have players in the dressing room who are some of the best that this league has seen. Like Marcelinho, Marko Stankovic and you look at Matt Mills who has come in this season and he has been brilliant and then you look around the young Indian players, we know we have a good enough team. We started off very slowly and we had a poor pre-season, the club has acknowledged that and they have pinpointed that but we got our first win on the board and which has risen the confidence of the squad and now we come up against a tough NorthEast United FC side which is going to be a hard match. We have seen how good they can be but we don't go in any game fearing anybody and that's something that is good and we haven't done that all season. We got this belief behind us that we can win matches and we know we can win matches. So, it is a long way to go but first and foremost we look at the next match.

Which players pose the biggest threat from NorthEast United FC?

They have a lot of good players, a lot of experienced players and lot of young Indian players but having done the work with Star Sports I kind of got to do things a little bit more in-depth, scouting and all that. The two guys who stood out were Bartholomew Ogbeche, the guy is a goal scorer and he gets himself in the right place at the right time but he doesn't do it alone, he has Federico Gallego behind him and Gallego for me, so far this season has been one of the standouts of the league and he does a lot of dirty work which people don't really take note off but he scores goals and gets involved and assists. Ogbeche wouldn't score the goals he has so far this season and if he didn't have Gallego behind him. On the Indian front you can't look further than Rowllin Borges. He has had a good season so far, he had a slow season last year and obviously, the team has struggled but I think if you put him with Gallego and Ogbeche upfront, they can cause any team trouble.

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