Jonatan Lucca, one of the principal reasons behind FC Goa's run to the ISL final in 2015, has expressed belief that his new team FC Pune City has enough ammunition to recover from their slow start to the 2016 season and still make it to the playoffs.
"The team is really good, and the first four games have not been very good, but we have had time for recovery," Lucca told ESPN. "We have managed to create chances, but our conversion has been poor."
Lucca, 22, occupies a central midfield position for Pune City, and in fact has been responsible for the only assists as his team have scored just three goals in their first four games this season, the same that he managed himself as a Goa player last year.
Lucca revealed a potential strategic shift in how he will be utilised in the rest of the games.
"I don't really have a favourite position. I can play in central midfield, in both offensive and defensive roles. Antonio wants to put me in a defensive role, so that I can help team qualify for the playoffs for the first time," Lucca said.
Lucca was just 18 when he signed his first professional contract, when Serie A club Roma shelled out 700,000 euros on a five-year deal, but Lucca would eventually be loaned out to Atletico Paranaense in Brazil within two years.
"When I went to Roma, I was very young. It was a big experience for me. I was there for about two years, but I never got to play under Luciano Spalletti. India has also not been very different, though they speak a different language."
Lucca, who believes the ISL still retains its essence of bringing together "big players and big coaches", has a ringing endorsement of Indian players that he has had the opportunity of playing with.
"Indian players have been very good. They are really good guys and have treated us with a lot of respect. It is a good experience to come and play alongside them. Each year, they are getting better and better."