Shorey & Simonsen: Results are the most important thing

FC Pune City’s Nicky Shorey and Steve Simonsen speak about their team’s progress in the ISL and their future plans.

Nicholas Shorey... It's been helpful having a bunch of English boys as part of the team.   -  ISL/SPORTZPICS

"It's nice to have someone like Massimo Battara around because he understands me as a goalkeeper," says Steve Simonsen.   -  ISL/ SPORTZPICS

FC Pune City is sitting pretty in second place, only a point away from table-toppers FC Goa and the mood in the camp is upbeat. Sportstar caught up with left-back Nicky Shorey and goalkeeper Steve Simonsen for an exclusive chat.

Excerpts:

What is the general morale of the squad? The team is only one point behind the top team.

Steve Simonsen: Yes, we’ve won quite a few games. So we are very confident even though we aren’t entirely pleased with the way we’ve played some of the games. But results are the most important thing, so we can be very happy.

What are the areas of improvement for the squad?

Simonsen: We can improve all over the pitch. We’ve conceded a few goals, and we’re always looking to cut that number down. We also want to get more crosses in the box, create more chances.

Steve, you have Massimo Battara as a goalkeeping coach. He’s worked with some of the big names in football such as England’s Joe Hart. How much has he helped you?

Simonsen: Well Massimo is a very experienced guy and he has worked with some fantastic players. So it’s nice to have someone like him around because he understands me as a goalkeeper and my needs. And he provides that in terms of training, coaching and other related aspects. I’m pleased to have someone like him around me.

How has the experience been working with David Platt? He was part of the Manchester City set-up under Roberto Mancini.

Nicky Shorey: It has been fine. The gaffer is quite laidback. We’ve also known him as a player for England, not only as a manager and coach. He’s been in our shoes before, as a top player, so we have this respect towards him.

How easy has it been for both of you to make the transition to the league, as you guys are from the same country and have a fellow compatriot as the head coach?

Shorey: It’s been helpful having a bunch of English boys as part of the team. It also helps that there are other people in the team who have played in the Premier League. We have all played against each other, come across very often and are now part of the same set-up. The Indian boys have been first class and have been very welcoming, too.

What’s your assessment of the other teams?

Simonsen: It’s been interesting watching different teams and styles of play, so we’ve been able to keep an eye on the danger players in the opponents’ ranks. But the league, with respect to how it has gone so far, has been a little up and down. The teams have looked good in one game but not so organised in the next. So I feel the league is wide open and it is up to us to register as many wins as we can. We just have to make sure that we are not part of that wide-open race to make it to the knockout stages.

When you decided to take part in the ISL, what was going through your mind?

Shorey: Well, I’ve got to an age where something new has to appeal to me and it was ‘now or never’ for me. Also, the league is a shorter season, so that appealed to me as well. It was a case of trying something new before it was too late and I’m glad I took that chance.

Simonsen: Yeah, I’m the same! You get an opportunity from anywhere, you have to take it seriously, particularly when your manager is David Platt. We grew up watching him as an England international in the World Cup, scoring important goals. So, to get a chance to work with someone like him is obviously a big pull. Also, I’ve heard a lot about the ISL from guys who have played here last year. They said it was a fantastic league, up and coming, and a lot of time and money has been invested in it to make it bigger.

And I think they’ve certainly done that this season. I am pretty impressed with the atmosphere in the stadiums. Even though we’ve got one of the smaller stadiums, it’s been fantastic. There are around 8,000-9,000 fans, but it sounds like it’s 50,000. The fans have been fantastic.

What are your plans, post ISL?

Both: Have a good Christmas!

Simonsen: It’ll be nice to have a Christmas with the family and the girlfriend. And have a nice break post Christmas, too.

The duo sign off by saying they would love to be back next year for the ISL.

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