Reddy eyes consistency, James slams flat first-half

FC Pune City registered their second win of the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2018-19 season as they came out 1-0 winners against Kerala Blasters FC at Kochi on Friday. The visitors took the lead through Marcelo Pereira’s deflected effort early in the first-half and then held on to earn three valuable points.

Speaking at the post-match press conference, Pune’s interim coach Pradyum Reddy analysed the win and said, "We’d done our homework and seen the way Kerala had played in the last couple of games and we were certain Sandesh Jhingan will play out of position. And when he does so, certain gaps appear in the team. The idea was to exploit those gaps. I think we exploited these very well in the first 20 minutes, but we just didn’t take enough of the chances. We scored one goal but should have scored one more before that. It would have been a lot easier to go in with a two-goal lead rather than a one-goal lead."

The win takes Pune to the eighth position in the table but a spot in the playoffs still looks unlikely for the Stallions. Reddy, however, opted to look at the positives and urged his players to keep putting in maximum effort. "Any team and any coach try to play to win every single match. That’s always the plan. If you win the match, you get three points and if you keep getting three points, you move higher up the table. I cannot control what Mumbai, Jamshedpur, NorthEast and the team above us do. So, we just have to keep winning our games and see where we can go. Mathematically, it is still possible to get into the playoffs. It would require us to win every single match, but we’ll give it a shot," he said.

Iain Hume completed 90 minutes for the first time this season. Asked about the Canadian’s contribution since he joined the team a month back, Reddy said, "We’ve all seen what Iain Hume has done in this league in the past few seasons. It’s not just what he does on the field, it's his presence in the dressing room and that was something that we had been missing at the start of the season.”

The loss extended the Blasters' winless run to 10 matches - the longest in the club's history. Kerala head coach David James lamented the lack of spark in his team’s first-half display, which, he felt, lead to their ultimate downfall. "Scoring is obviously a problem. In the first-half, I was surprised by how tired we looked. I was surprised as I was expecting the same energy that we had in the Jamshedpur game for 90 minutes. Second-half was much better. A lot more energy. They did very well in slowing the game down from the first minute of the second-half. The first half was way off the mark," he said.

The Englishman concluded by revealing the mood in the dressing room. "It has been tough. We tried, we tried. Fans don’t turn up because they’re not happy with the process. There’s been a couple of games that we deserved to lose. Today was one of them," he stated.

Read the match report here.

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