Kolkata: Sanjoy Sen, the coach at the helm of I-League table toppers Mohun Bagan, was in buoyant mood on Saturday evening as his team overcame the challenge of Pune FC at the Shree Chhatrapati Balewadi Sports Complex, Pune, to open up a three point lead at the top of the table with a game in hand. He saw his team take the lead through a Jeje Lalpekhlua effort in the fifth minute, before Katsumi Yusa doubled their advantage with three-quarters of the game through, in the 76th minute.
Speaking on the game itself, Sen opined, “It was really an outstanding performance. If you counted the number of chances the opponent had, I think there was not a single chance in the 90 minutes. Our goalkeeper (Debjit Majumder) got a very few balls and our boys played outstanding football because you need real character to come back from a position where we were winning the last match (against Royal Wahingdoh) and then you conceded two goals (losing 3-2 to Royal Wahingdoh FC). After the defeat, coming back and with the championship tag on your back, it’s very difficult but hats off to the boys.”
Revealing that Pune FC’s midfield was a worry for him before the game began, Sen commended the boys on a job well done in neutralizing their main threat. “Actually, we were more worried about their midfield. So our boys did very well. We know that they got some very good players in the midfield. So our players didn’t allow them to operate. That’s why their forward – they were playing with one striker [Darko] Nikac – was not getting many balls. So it made is easy for our defenders also,” he elucidated.
Believing his squad were a talented squad throughout, the former Mohammedan Sporting coach explained, “This is the strength of a team. It’s not so easy to come back when you have not been playing and score. It’s the spirit of the team. Even Manish Bhargav, who didn’t play a single match except the first match against Mumbai FC put in a good performance. I can’t pin point one or two players. All 11 players were outstanding.”
Finally, he concluded by stating with regards to sentiments of Bagan playing four away games as a serious disadvantage to their title tilt, “People have every right to say those things, but we don’t feel that way. If it is away or home, if you want to be champion, you have to target every match to earn maximum points. In the last match also were leading and unfortunately we lost 3-2. So our motive or idea is that, when we play against Mumbai FC on 2nd May, we will look for three points.”