We are more ready and adapted to the ISL: Punjab FC’s Staikos Vergetis
Punjab FC head coach shares his thoughts ahead of their clash against Bengaluru FC.
Punjab FC head coach Staikos Vergetis looks motivated as his side prepares to take on Bengaluru FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi on Saturday.
The Shers currently occupy the 11th position in the ISL table, having secured one win and five draws from their initial 12 matches leading up to the international break. Despite obtaining two draws in the Kalinga Super Cup group stages, Vergetis' men fell short of advancing to the semi-finals.
Nevertheless, the head coach believes that the break and the Super Cup provided valuable opportunities to experiment with various aspects and gain a better understanding of the team. They now aim to build on that preparation and enhance their performance in the second half of the ISL.
“We had a break that allowed us to review certain aspects we tested during the Super Cup. We made decisions and observed some crucial factors that are important to us for the second half of the ISL season,” Vergetis said in the pre-match press conference.
“Taking our experiences from the first half (of the season), we are more ready and adapted to the ISL. Players have taken many lessons and experiences that will be useful in the coming half of the season,” he added.
“Regarding the team formation and the roles of the players on the field, we experimented with various strategies during the Super Cup games, and many things are working well,” the head coach continued.
Punjab FC made several key signings towards the end of the winter transfer window that will undoubtedly strengthen their squad. However, Vergetis believes that the return of Wilmar Jordan Gil from injury will benefit them the most.
“For me, the first transfer in our team for the second half of the season is Wilmar Jordan (Gil), who is now ready to play after missing out on the majority of the opening matches. He has prepared in the last few games (in the Super Cup) and is now much more ready to contribute with what he has got,” he commented.
In the reverse fixture in November, the Shers squandered a two-goal lead as the two sides played out a thrilling 3-3 draw at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium. The Greek tactician recalls the game and feels that, if not for individual errors, his side could have secured a significant win against the Blues that night.
“I remember very clearly that in that game, our players followed the game plan, not 100%, but the match went exactly as we had planned. Unfortunately, individual mistakes cost us the chance to celebrate a significant victory,” Vergetis said.
Punjab FC are all set to return to their home ground as they host the Blues in an early kickoff on Saturday. The team feels extra motivated to play in front of the home supporters, which can eventually boost the confidence of the players.
“We are excited to return to our home because the atmosphere here is different. I have noticed that our players are more motivated (when they play here). I am happy that we have more home games in the second half of the league,” he said.
Forward Wilmar Jordan Gil accompanied the head coach to the pre-match press conference. Gil has only featured in five matches so far in the ISL this season and has accumulated only 84 minutes. However, the Colombian striker looks in better shape and has also performed well in the Kalinga Super Cup, where he scored his first goal in Punjab FC colours.
“I’m very happy to be in a position where I can contribute to the team with the skills I came here for. In the first half of the season, there were some problems that didn’t allow me to play much, but now I’m happy to participate in the second half of the season and help the team,” he said.