FC Pune City's new Spanish attackers Jesus Tato and Pitu are keen to hit the ground running in the Indian Super League (ISL) football tournament beginning October 1.
Pune hired Spanish coach Antonio Lopez Habas, formerly of 2014 champions Atletico de Kolkata, seeking to overturn their disappointing performances in the first two editions, in which they failed to qualify for the semi-finals.
Habas has built a reputation of being a strict coach with emphasis on Spaniards in his team, to avoid any communication issues with players from different parts of the globe owing to language barriers in a short tournament as ISL.
FC Pune City also conducted their pre-tournament training in Spain.
Tato and Pitu, both products of Spanish champions FC Barcelona's La Masia academy, are prepared for the faith bestowed on them by Pune and Habas and keen to mark their arrival to Indian football with memorable performances.
"ISL is new challenge altogether, a new country, new players and different culture. I feel this diversity in football will help me understand the game and help me train more hard for different situations," Tato told IANS in an e-mail.
Pitu said he is looking forward to enrich his repertoire in India. "With this new phase in football I want to explore and get deep in how the game is played here. This stint in India will play an important role in my life as its my first experience in ISL and in this country," Pitu told IANS in the e-mail. "I promise to give my 100 percent and I am ready to take learning from this part of my life. I will concentrate on understanding different dynamics of the game."
They both claimed to have been briefed about the level of football in the country and the expectations of them.
"Apart from ISL, we now have a decent idea about Indian football scenario, our Indian players and assistant coach Renedy Singh helped us understand it," they said.
They believed to have gelled well with their Indian team-mates, who are "matured".
"I initially thought it will be tough to adjust with their football style and culture. But as soon as I came here it was totally opposite. The level of football in India is pretty high and matured. The way Indian players play is pretty impressive," Tato said.
We have gelled up with each other so well that I feel as if I am at home. They are really fantastic," Pitu said.
They praised their local colleagues' willingness to learn and grounded nature.
"Indian players are very humble and ready to learn new things even from a small session, they always want to learn more about the game and never give up," Tato observed.
"Indian players are technically impressive and matured, they understand the game very well and they are also aware of their responsibilities in the field," Pitu echoed.