Punjab FC head coach Staikos Vergetis is confident as his side prepare to face Hyderabad FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the GMC Balayogi Stadium, Hyderabad on Tuesday.

Punjab FC faced a significant setback in their recent match, and will be determined to stage a comeback and secure a crucial victory. The upcoming game holds immense importance as they vie for a playoff spot. Positioned at 11th in the league table, the Shers have accumulated 14 points from 15 games. Winning three out of their last five matches, the team will be eager to capitalise on this opportunity and clinch all three points.

In contrast, Hyderabad FC is still in pursuit of their first win of the season and currently finds themselves in 12th position with only four points from 16 games. They will be looking to make their home advantage count and end their winless streak, having put up a good performance in recent games. 

Vergetis stated that the 10-day break since their last match against Jamshedpur FC has had positive effects on the players' development and the coaching staff's preparation for their upcoming match.

"A big period of break between the games definitely will help the team, because we get to prepare better since the last game, better weekly plan for the team's training, workout all the physical parameters and tactical issues that you need to correct. This always helps a lot," he said during the pre-match press conference. 

He added: "Generally after the new year, the team has been getting better. The last game was a bad result but not a bad performance! Like I had said before, the team created a lot of chances but we didn't have a good finalization, we had opportunities to finish the game in a much better way but we didn't do it. The team functioned well in the field, and continued the good performances."

The Punjab FC head coach expressed confidence in his team's preparedness and the importance of securing all three points to stay in contention for the playoffs.

"We had the time we needed to prepare the team ahead of this crucial and difficult game. I believe our players understand our tactical plans and will execute this in the best way possible."

Vergetis feels that Hyderabad FC has undergone a sudden shift in their on-field performance. The club have lost plenty of key players in the January transfer window. Despite the challenges, the team has shown resilience by offering opportunities to young players, who have displayed commendable determination on the field. In a recent match against Bengaluru FC, they came close to securing a draw away from home, only to be thwarted by a late winner from Sivasakthi Narayanan.

"I think Hyderabad FC plays as a team now, has no individualities but plays as a team, and this is better for them. They have some very good concepts and pace, speedy players up front, team spirit and aggressivity."

Vergetis stated that all players are available for the game apart from the injured Khaiminthang Lhungdim. 

Will give it my all, in this game: Sahil Tavora

Midfielder Tavora made a notable move to Punjab FC in January, marking one of their recent signings. Formerly associated with Hyderabad FC, the 28-year-old switched clubs during the winter transfer window. Since joining Punjab FC, he has already contributed in three matches, playing a role in two out of the three wins the team secured in the ISL following their recent promotion

As Tavora prepares to return to Hyderabad for the first time since his departure, he shares his thoughts on the upcoming encounter, providing insights into his emotions and sentiments regarding facing his former team.

"I have a lot of good memories in this stadium and since it's my former team, this will be a special occasion. A good game with mixed feelings but I am here to represent Punjab FC and I have a job to do for the team and give it my all in this game," he said in the pre-match press conference. Tavora talked about his experience at his new club and discussed their recent loss to Jamshedpur FC. 

"It's been good, it takes some time, a few games to fit into a new system, a new coach, and new teammates. I have been here for three games and we had some positive results, two wins, and a disappointing defeat in the last game. The two wins before that were very positive. Like the coach said the performance against Jamshedpur FC, especially in the first half was very good. So we have to build on this now and tomorrow (Tuesday) is one more game for us to take another step towards that," he explained. The press conference came to a close, as Tavora explained how he capitalised on the 10-day break to adapt and fully adjust himself to his new team.

"The break for me has been good, I took this time to adapt, play with the team, with the coach and my new teammates.. and hopefully that translates to the pitch and move in the right direction."