Punjab FC assistant coach Sankarlal Chakraborty is expecting his side to deliver a strong performance against FC Goa in their upcoming Indian Super League (ISL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on Monday.

The Shers have turned their fortunes in the second half of the season, winning four of their last six matches and climbing to the ninth position in the points table.

They now have 20 points from 18 matches, just one point behind sixth-placed Jamshedpur FC, and also have a game in hand. Punjab FC is coming into this game on the back of a brilliant 1-0 win over NorthEast United FC, who are also in contention for a playoff spot.

Chakraborty reflected on their performance against the Highlanders and now wants his side to build on the momentum.

“It was a very good result, a very important result in the last game. It was very good for us that we got three points,” Chakraborty stated in the pre-match press conference.

“Our players are now much more confident, motivated, and well-balanced to deliver a good performance (against FC Goa) tomorrow (on Monday),” he added.

In the reverse fixture in Goa, the Gaurs secured a win with a solitary goal from Carlos Martinez.

However, the Indian coach is aware of the opposition's strength but believes his side looks different now, with the changes they made during the winter transfer window.

“It was a long time ago, also very early in the season. FC Goa have always been a tough team in the league. They are well-balanced, and we are well aware of that,” he said.

“We made many changes to our team, especially after the break in January. I hope we will continue this performance according to our coach's plan,” Chakraborty added.

Defender Nikhil Prabhu, who has been playing as a central midfielder lately, has been impressive in his new role. Prabhu will sit out of this game to serve his one-match suspension.

Chakraborty believes his absence will be crucial, but they have others to fill his void and prove their merit.

"Nikhil (Prabhu) is one of the best players in our team, and he has proven it through his performance. His absence will be a huge miss for us. However, in the same team, we have good players to fill his position, and we hope they will deliver a good performance tomorrow,” he commented.

Punjab FC can still make it to the playoffs in their inaugural season in the ISL. A win against FC Goa could see them move to the sixth position. However, Chakraborty feels his side should take a game-by-game approach and focus solely on getting the three points against the Gaurs on Monday.

“In this top league, we have to face this sort of pressure. We are motivating the players and have told them not to look at the points table but to focus on the opponent team, as they are a very solid team. Our aim is to earn the maximum points from the game tomorrow,” he commented.

We will play for three crucial points: Nitesh Darjee


Defender Nitesh Darjee accompanied the assistant coach to the pre-match press conference. The left-back has played in nine matches so far in the league and is slowly becoming a vital part of the side.

He reflected on his side’s performance in the recent matches and shared insights into the mood in the camp.

“We changed the formation, and the team environment is very good right now. In the recent few matches, we have been performing very well. The atmosphere in the dressing room is amazing at the moment. I believe we will play for three crucial points tomorrow (on Monday),” he said.