Ludhiana: I-League table toppers Minerva Punjab will host Indian Arrows in their own backyard, here at the Guru Nanak Stadium in Ludhiana, on Monday.
It will be a tough test for the young Indian Arrows side, comprising of Indian U-17 World Cup squad and Indian U-19 team members as they were on the receiving end when these two sides collided in Goa, thanks to William Opoku Asiedu’s brilliant brace.
Indian Arrows coach De Matos has clearly stressed that it’s not the result but the development of his younger side that he is looking for in the league.
When the Portuguese was asked about his team’s preparation for the upcoming game, he said he studied Minerva Punjab really well.
“I again want to point out that we are not here to win or lose. We are here for the experience of the competitive matches. My team is very young.
They are 18-year-old players and it’s essential that they play bigger stronger opponents for improvement,” he said.
He further praised the Punjab-based side wholeheartedly.
“We have worked on Minerva’s strengths especially their throw-in and other set pieces. Minerva are the leaders of I-League and are a very strong side,” he added.
According to the coach it’s a long-term project to make Indian players adapt to a European style of play.
“Yes, it’s a long-term project. I don’t want to change my style of play for a different opponent every game. I want my players to play the same kind of football we are playing. When these players are ready in two years of time for the senior side, they will hence be able to counter European teams easily. In order to achieve this, the players need more competition,” he expressed.
Minerva Punjab gaffer Wangkhem Khogen Singh, whose side have accumulated 10 points in four matches until now, when asked if he would like to make any changes to the line-up, declined with a complete no-no.
“We want to keep our winning streak. We will not change our team or our team tactics. We won’t take any side lightly no matter how our opponent is,” he said.