Pune City exude confidence

Pune City FC, with victories in the two games they have played so far, go into the match against Delhi Dynamos with tremendous self-belief.

Tuncay Sanli of FC Pune City celebrates after scoring against Mumbai City FC. Pune's attack revolves around this striker.   -  ISL/ SPORTZPICS

David Platt... "I am confident whatever formation we choose, whatever style we adopt, we have capable players to do the job.”   -  ISL/ SPORTZPICS

Roberto Carlos... “My attempt is to drill a winning mentality in the team (Delhi Dynamos). That is how I grew up playing the game."   -  ISL/SPORTZPICS

Florent Malouda of Delhi Dynamos outruns his Chennaiyin FC markers. The French midfield ace is a very influential player for his side.   -  ISL/ SPORTZPICS

Delhi Dynamos FC hit the road again for their second away game in the 2015 Indian Super League. FC Pune City deserve respect for their disciplined home performances so far. The team, in good shape in defence and attack that saw them register victories in the two matches they have played so far, go into the match against Delhi at the Balewadi Stadium with tremendous self-belief.

These are early days no doubt, and the Delhi coach, Roberto Carlos, is in the process of testing players in match situations. His Pune counterpart, David Platt, changed team formation in two home games. So, the guessing game continues.

Carlos is trying to change his players’ mindset as the League progresses. “My attempt is to drill a winning mentality in the team. That is how I grew up playing the game. When you win, mistakes are glossed over. After our first match, we worked on reducing our mistakes, and it showed in the second match. I am looking at finishing in the top four,” the Brazilian said.

Platt, whose team – unlike the visitors – chose to rest on the eve of the match, explained that the formation is based on the quality of players in the squad and it is not a ruse to keep rivals guessing. “The way we play may look different from match-to-match; the players may change. I am confident whatever formation we choose, whatever style we adopt, we have capable players to do the job,” he said.

Marquee signing Adrian Mutu was replaced in the second game. He had a quiet first game for Pune, whose attack revolved around Tuncay Sanli.

Sanli was supported by midfielders Israil Gurung, Lenny Rodrigues and Fanai Lalrempuia, who slipped into offensive positions. Gouramangi Singh was rested for the second tie and he may be back for the game against Delhi.

Pune City chose six midfielders and four defenders in the opener against Mumbai City, then switched to a conventional 4-3-3 against NorthEast United, winning both to gain six points.

Carlos agreed that his rivals deserve respect for their performances so far. “If you noticed, Pune were not at their best in two games, but have six points, so should be respected,” he said.

Delhi’s marquee player-cum-coach is ready to step on the pitch. He came on as substitute in the away loss to FC Goa but did not play in the home win. “We have a saying in Brazil – don’t tinker (with the team) when winning. Against Chennaiyin, we were ahead, so saw no reason to take out any player. I played in the first tie because I felt the need to organise things on the pitch, though I could not change the result,” Carlos said.

He believes French midfield ace Florent Malouda and Norwegian defender John Riise will be more influential. “Both are leaders on the ground and are improving,” said Carlos, for whom Brazilian striker Gustavo Dos Santos is stretching defences with snaky runs down the flank. Pune backline is more organised than that of the visitors.

Platt, however, believes in looking ahead. “Those wins happened in the past. We need to approach the third match (Delhi Dynamos) as our first game of the tournament and work from there. The striking part of ISL is the competitiveness. From what I have seen till now, you cannot say which way a match will turn; no team can afford to rest on achievements,” he said.

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