'I'm sad about the result but not sad with my team', Jorge Costa backs his players after Mumbai City FC's 4-2 loss against FC Goa | ISL 2019/20
In the 89th minute, Carlos Pena stole a march on his marker in the box and stabbed home FC Goa’s 4th goal to consign Mumbai City FC to their 5th consecutive home loss, spaced out between two seasons.
At that moment, Sergio Lobera leapt in delight and triumphantly embraced those around him. To put things into perspective, his side had managed to stave off the hosts’ brief fightback to script another victory in the ISL, a win that propelled them to the top of the table.
Elaborating on how the positive result was achieved, the Spanish manager echoed a simple yet highly effective mantra. He said,
We believe till the end. Whether it is the 80th minute or the 120th minute. We always feel that we can impact the game and that is crucial.
Through the encounter, the visitors had made the net bulge thrice via an unlikely avenue namely set-pieces. On being quizzed if that was a pre-meditated ploy, he replied,
We spoke before the game about set-piece situations and my assistant coach and I are glad that the work paid off. We eventually scored three goals and that helped us win.
Akin to many a time before, the away side portrayed immense bravery and courage on the ball, meaning that they put Mumbai to the sword, despite the hosts’ best efforts to avoid it. On that particular aspect, he quipped,
We never want to change the way we play. We have a certain style and we didn’t change anything for today. Although we look at the opposition’s weaknesses, we stick to our philosophy.
Consequently, the adherence to a specific brand of football has enabled FC Goa to carve a niche for itself in the Indian footballing fraternity. When asked who he felt was the most vital cog in his wheel, he answered,
For me, the team is always important. I am blessed to have players like Ahmed Jahouh, Coro and Edu but the team always comes first. We have a good understanding in the way we pass the ball and that shows when the same players aren’t as successful playing for other teams.
The Gaurs have indeed established themselves as perhaps the best team in Indian football; a thought that was echoed by Mumbai City FC manager, Jorge Costa. The Portuguese, in his press conference, stated,
FC Goa for me are one of the best teams in India. And even though we lost today, we played better than we did against Odisha. We had more control and we fought back well.
However, the coach was less than impressed on the defensive front when he remarked that his side had been gifting away goals; a fact not many onlookers would particularly argue against. In fact, Mumbai, courtesy their 4-2 defeat, have now conceded 17 goals in their last five home games, spread across two seasons. Costa quipped,
There are problems but I need to solve them. When I signed up for another year, I signed up for success. I just have to find solutions. There isn’t any other alternative.
And, on the back of that statement, the Portuguese had highlighted his innate leadership abilities wherein he tried to deflect all the attention from another rudderless defensive display. On being asked if he was unhappy with what had been transpiring over the past fortnight, he replied,
It is silly mistakes. Even after getting to 2-2, we let the advantage slip. But it can happen anywhere in football; in Mumbai, at Real Madrid or at Barcelona. Even though I am sad about the result, I am not sad with my team.
Last season, a similar crisis had engulfed the Islanders before they stitched together a nine-match unbeaten run. Thus, there is a precedent for Mumbai City FC to follow.
However, as long as they keep providing Christmas presents to the opposition, a similar streak might not come to fruition. At this juncture, Costa knows about those dangers and can guard against it within the confines of the dressing room.
Yet, at the end of the day, it would boil down to how his players can execute those plans on the pitch.