Mumbai City FC made the Indian Super League playoffs for the first time this season with a stingy defence led by Lucian Goian proving to be the bedrock of their success. This is not the first time the Romanian has plied his trade in Asia. The centre-back had a one year stint with Beijing Braxy in 2013-14; a stint Goian feels has helped him settle down in India better.
Heaping praise on the ISL, Goian went on to feel that the league is in fact much better organised than the Chinese Super League.
“The ISL is a better-organised league than the CSL. The local talent on show here is amazing. The Indian players are real professionals and have one up over the local Chinese players in the CSL in terms of talent and ability,” said the 33-year-old whilst speaking to Khel Now.
“The amalgamation of the local players and us foreigners here in the ISL is far better than that in the CSL. The Indian players have grown from strength to strength over the last few years and working so closely with their experienced foreign teammates has played a major role.
“The league here, I feel, is far better and doesn't have any lessons to learn from the CSL really.”
Deserve to be at top
Looking back at Mumbai’s landmark season Goian feels that they are exactly where they should in terms of position in the table. “I think we deserve to be first at this moment. The previous game is a sign of that,” quipped the 33-year-old. “It also showed that we are a strong team and we can beat anybody. But the job's not done yet.”
Except for the goal fest against Kerala which saw Diego Forlan hit the first hat-trick of the ISL season, every other win for Mumbai has come via a 1-0 scoreline – which goes a long way to show the defensive efficiency of the side with Goian being the leader at the back.
However, Goian doesn’t want to take all the credit for himself and feels that the results have come about because of the work done by the whole team.
“When you think of defensive performances, you only think of the goalkeepers and defenders. But defending is all about teamwork. The midfielders and attackers too track back more often than not and help out at the back too,” opined the 33-year-old.
Although having qualified, Mumbai will look solidify their place at the top and carry the momentum into the playoffs. They will face Delhi (currently in second) on 3rd December in a game that may well decide who finishes at the top.
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