With contention for title hardly an option now and Pune’s season nothing more than a lost cause, it would be the perfect time for Pradyum Reddy to get his priorities right. Pune play five games before ISL goes into a long break and it would be upon them to earn some of their credibility back.
The third phase of the Indian Super League (ISL) will interestingly resume with a clash of contrasting forms – FC Pune City vs Jamshedpur City. While FC Pune City
Though both the last season debutants - Bengaluru FC and Jamshedpur FC - have remained unbeaten in the season so far, the Men of Steel should be credited more for the feat for their tenacity to do it over more matches and with consistency. Apart from that, their authoritative 4-1 victory over league leaders FC Goa has also given everyone a reminder of what they are capable of when done right.
However, while JFC
Fast-track to four more matches into their campaign since the sack, and all Pune fans could boast would be occasional fight and pressure on the high-flying sides. While the return of Iain Hume from injury is widely believed to be a huge boost for the franchises and encouraging for the fans as well, Pune didn’t have problems up top
Conceding 16 goals has been a huge blow and the return of Hume would hardly solve it. Now, exactly what would solve their problem, which so far looks more tactical than mental and moral, is still a mystery but not experimenting with the squad like chemicals could be a fair start. Pune have used four different setups in seven matches and despite having the firepower in their squad to pull off all the four formations, they have failed in every single occasion.
While the exact reason for Angel Portugal’s sack isn’t known, a guess that it was far from the administration’s differences with his tactics wouldn’t be completely wrong, for Pradyum Reddy hasn’t done anything differently since then. With the likes of Alfaro, Marcelinho, Ashique Kuruniyan, Robin Singh, and Nikhil Poojari up top, and Matt Mills, Sarthak Golui, Gurtej Singh, and Lalchhuanmawia at the back, one cannot doubt the categorical prowess of the side in different parts of the field. But, Pune
While Portugal was seen deploying a one-man midfield against Delhi Dynamos, two-man midfield against Mumbai City FC, and a four-man midfield against Bengaluru FC, Reddy has also used a one-man and two-man midfield setups in his next four matches in charge. Apart from this mayhem in the middle of the park, the franchise has used as many as five different players in the position expecting positive results.
The players are Martin Diaz, Alwyn George, Marko Stankovic, Adil Khan, and Jonathan Vila. With numerous combinations feasible in them, Pune
Now, with a realistic chance of contending for the title all but over, Pune could actually give the much-needed time to the likes of Vila, George, and Khan in the midfield and have patience. With the management finally looking to settle on Reddy and trusting his vision, it is time the manager did the same for his players. Against a free-flowing Jamshedpur FC, Pune would need players to hold the ball under pressure and close down spaces, something Khan and Vila are perfectly capable of. With Alfaro now gone and Hume and Stankovic returning from their injuries, Pune could start the third phase,
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