Ground: Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex
Owner: Rajesh Wadhawan Group, Arjun Kapoor.
CEO: Gaurav Modwel
Manager: Phil Brown
League: Indian Super League
2017–18 Regular season: 4th (10 teams)
2017-18: ISL Playoffs: Semi-finals
FC Pune City can boast of possessing one of the best attacks in the ISL – at least on paper. They have added Iain Hume, Robin Singh, and Nikhil Poojari to the existing quartet of Marcelinho, Emiliano Alfaro, Ashique Kuruniyan, and Diego Carlos.
However, their Achilles heel remains on the defensive side. Rafa Lopez has left the club and Pune have signed former Bolton Wanderers and Nottingham Forrest player Matt Mills as a replacement. They also signed Martin Diaz from NorthEast United as a cover on the defensive side of the game. The midfield looks set with the likes of Marko Stankovic, Adil Khan, Shankar Sampingiraj, and Jonathan Vila among their ranks.
However, the preseason games against I-League teams have produced mixed results.
Last year, Miguel Ángel Portugal took on the job with Delhi Dynamos. The team played a possession-based style of play. After a slow start, his side played a free-flowing football and scored 27 goals in the process. Albeit, with the worst defensive record.
He has to start all over again with FC Pune City. However, he has a better squad to work with – at least on paper.
Portugal managed teams in Spain, Bolivia, Brazil, and Algeria before making his way to India. The Spaniard will hope for a better showing in his second outing.
On paper, FC Pune City has a balanced side with a strong core and promising young talents capable of reaching the playoffs again. However, they need to adapt to a new style of play under Portugal to make that a reality.