Mumbai City FC could not begin their ISL 2017 campaign on the best possible note. The Islanders suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Bengaluru FC, who thoroughly outplayed them in all departments.
On Saturday, Mumbai will once again lock horns with an extremely competent outfit in FC Goa who won their first game 3-2 against Chennaiyin FC. Mumbai coach Alexandre Guimarães is aware of the challenge that looms large.
"We have a tough game because Goa did very well against Chennai, away from home. We need to improve our performance but every team has their struggles in the beginning right? We are prepared though and we will go for the win," he said.
In their first match, Mumbai were extremely aggressive in their approach. The likes of Ruidas and Gerson went hard at Bengaluru's players, at times, risking a possible red card. Numerous players had their studs facing the opposition players when they dived in for the tackles.
Guimaraes shrugged off suggestions that his team will get very physical this season. He suggested that their ill-timed tackles were merely down to not closing down the spaces well enough. The coach made it clear that he does not endorse this style of football.
"No, we didn't time our tackles during the duels with their players. We had to be much more compact, we left too many spaces in between and Bengaluru's players arrived at the ball late and this resulted in many fouls. Of course, this is not our style but we had to make some adjustments," he explained.
Mumbai's midfield linchpin, Leo Costa pulled his hamstring against Bengaluru. The manager revealed that his star player still hasn't recovered and will play no part in tonight's game against FC Goa.
It's still very early in the season, but Mumbai had only one short on target against Bengaluru. But Guimaraes believes there is nothing to worry about.
Mumbai were without their main striker, Balwant Singh and the coach reckons the absence of important attacking players resulted in the unfavourable outcome. Balwant is expected to return to the squad for tomorrow's encounter.
"Too many situations led to the outcome and our performance in the final third. Key players like Balwant Singh was injured and Leo Costa limped off on the 12th minute. I am not concerned about our performance, we knew it would be tough play an attacking game without our main players," he signed off.Published 25 Nov 2017, 09:22 IST