Pune City have not defeated Chennaiyin FC since inception of the ISL four years ago. But as the two teams square-off in Pune, the hosts are in ebullient mood.
"This is one more reason to be motivated," the Pune City coach said during the pre-match media briefing.
In the previous six encounters between the two teams, the Chennai side has been victorious on four occasions, while two matches have ended in draws.
"Whatever has happened in the past can be changed; that should be our motivation. But even bigger motivation will be to get all three points. I'm looking forward to one good performance from my players. We need to play well," said Popovic.
FC Pune City will be high on confidence. Popovic's side comes into the game on the back of two consecutive victories, the last one against local rivals Mumbai City FC.
Popovic's side has also been in great goal-scoring form, scoring nine goals in three matches with striking duo Marcelinho and Emiliano Alfaro regularly finding the back of the net.
Chennaiyin FC coach John Gregory is aware of the threat the two frontmen will pose to his side. The visitors have struck good form too after a disappointing 2-3 loss against FC Goa in the opener and the coach believes his team needs to keep things tight at the back.
"We need to be at our best against Pune. Two of their boys have grabbed all the headlines in the last couple of games. Alfaro and Marcelinho are playing outstanding. They have scored goals between them. And we'll certainly need to be at our best to try to keep those two quiet," said Gregory.
When asked if Pune's gruelling fixture list that saw them play three games in eight days will be an advantage to his side, Gregory simply brushed it off.
"They are on a very good run at the moment. When the games come, the players are always ready. When you are winning, when you are playing really well, scoring lots of goals, you can get up and play the next morning. I don't think it really matters," he said.(ANI)