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ISL 2016: Sunil Chhetri and the others are hungry to play says Mumbai City FC coach Alexandre Guimaraes

Bengaluru FC are players have joined the Mumbai City camp.

Sunil Chhetri Mumbai City FC
Sunil Chhetri was an instant hit for Mumbai City FC last season

Thursday’s Maharashtra derby between Mumbai City FC and FC Pune City promises to offer a bit of everything. After being winless in five games, Pune finally notched up a crucial victory over Kolkata. A win that is sure to help their confidence as they take on the high-flying Mumbai.

Mumbai City FC coach, Alexandre Guimaraes spoke to the media ahead of the crucial derby and said he is extremely pleased with how his team has been performing till date.

“I think we have to continue to do what we have been doing well. We secured very good points against some tough teams in the away games. Now it’s time to play at home and we must maintain our game and our will to win at home”, he said

Alexandre pointed out Pune’s precarious situation in the points table as something could work in the visitor’s favour.

“We know tomorrow we are going to play a derby and you never know what’s going to happen. We are prepared to play the right game. Pune have changed their approach a little bit and they know that they cannot lose. This is the incentive that we have”, the coach explained.

Defender, Anwar Ali was taken off in Mumbai’s last game after complaining of pain and the coach provided an update on his situation.

“Anwar Ali practised normally in our last training session yesterday. Tomorrow morning when I receive the official report from doctors, we’ll know. We’ll have to wait 36 hours to know if he is 100% or not”, he stated.

FC Goa coach, Zico went on a tirade, criticising the referee ‘s performance in their last game against Kerala Blasters, which they ended up losing in the dying seconds of the match.

Alexandre though believes as the league matures, so will the referees, “I didn’t see Goa’s game against Kerala. I think football is about everyone and experience matters. As you play more, everybody will improve and that means everybody”, he cryptically said.

Mumbai boasts the third best goal conversion rate in the Indian Super League but the coach believes winning is the most important aspect, “I am very happy. We have 15 points, for me it’s the same if we win 1-0 or 5-0. Every game we are creating chances to score”, he said.

Mumbai are currently on top of the points table and are heavy favourites to reach the play offs but Alexandre said his team cannot in any way get complacent given the nature of the league. He refused to give out a number that would ensure their qualification.

“The next 3 point’s, that’s the only thing we’re thinking about. We will see about the various possibilities but it’s important that we don’t enter the trap of believing that we’re almost there. No! We still have games to play. We have a good chance but we have to keep going”, he warned.

Alexandre revealed that the Bengaluru FC players who have returned post their AFC Cup final are “in a positive state of mind.” 

The new players practised yesterday. No one said they’re tired. They are very glad to be here and want to play. It is up to me to decide who will play but they’re hungry”, he concluded. 

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