Sabir Pasha: Each and every match is a pressure match

Chennaiyin FC host FC Pune City in Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Saturday. The southerners are unbeaten in the league against the Stallions and have already beaten them 1 – 0 earlier this season. Chennai can jump back to the top of the table after picking up another win over the visitors and the Stallions can do the same by registering a first ever win against the 2015 champions.

Speaking to the media at the pre-match press-conference was Chennaiyin assistant coach Sabir Pasha, who began by explaining why his side have been leaking goals lately. “We conceded those goals (recently) because we lost our focus,” he admitted. “You just have to focus. If we would have kept our focus in the last few minutes, we wouldn’t have conceded. We have to play as a team.”

Speaking about his team’s mentality for the upcoming fixture, Pasha said, “Each and every match is a pressure match. We have such big players that it shouldn’t be a problem. But we’re not taking the team lightly. They’re a good team, they can beat any team. We’re ready for this. It’s going to be tough for us.”

Pasha also acknowledged the strength of the Stallions and is looking forward to the contest. “We know Pune are strong attacking wise,” he inferred. “We are lucky that our captain (Henrique Sereno) is coming back. I think it will be a good contest of attack versus defence.”

Meanwhile, Pune’s assistant coach Vladica Grujic was clear about his team’s objectives for the match. “Look, we’re here to win,” he stressed. “We want to win. Chennai are very, very strong. We have to know this. Now it’s time to decide who will enter the play-off. Everybody knows how we play football. Let’s see tomorrow.”

Unfortunately, Pune will be missing their star Marcelinho, who is suspended from the fixture after picking up four yellow cards. “Marcelinho is one of the best players in the league,” the Serbian stated. “I know our team has good quality. If the team cannot play without one player, it is no team. We know how important he is to us, but we know how our team is. We want to do our best.”

Lastly, Grujic also insisted that the league was a very open competition, and no team could be ruled out just yet. “Every team can beat another team,” he said. “The difference between last and first is not too much. Even the last team can finish fourth. You must win two-three games continuously.”

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