ISL 2017: "Indebted to Diego Forlan and Sunil Chhetri," says Mumbai City FC coach
He guided Mumbai City FC to the Indian Super League (ISL) playoffs for the first time in 2016, and now back with the team for a lengthier season, head coach Alexandre Guimaraes sounded very positive.
While Mumbai have built a promising squad ahead of the ISL 2017 season, two of their fearsome weapons from last season, Diego Forlan and Sunil Chhetri will not be present this time around. Will that make a difference? Guimaraes is not one to lose sleep over it.
“I always like to talk about players we have. Yes, Forlan and Chhetri contributed a lot to take us to the playoffs but now is a new chapter and we have to deal with the players we have. There’s Balwant (Singh), Thiago Nascimento Dos Santos, Sanju (Pradhan), (Abhinas) Ruidas. They have shown that they want to make the fans proud. Even Arindam (Bhattacharya) is pushing Amrinder (Singh) for the goalkeeper’s spot,” said Guimaraes at a press conference in Mumbai on Thursday.
The Costa Rican was also extremely pleased with the pre-season tour of Spain where his men lost just one game. He said, “It's not just about the results, which is positive, but building a fully new team. The players understood very fast about the idea we wanted to introduce to them and they played with their heart, even in pre-season."
"Players suffer whenever we lose and the interesting thing is that even in pre-season, we felt gutted after losing a game. I am happy because of this attitude,” he added.
The calm yet commanding gaffer reiterated the fact that his team did nothing different for a longer season but the real process starts now. Guimaraes said, “What is important for us is to see what we do differently from the last day of our preparations before the start of the season to the last day of the season. Pre-season wasn’t anything different from last year,"
"But the teams we played in Spain were very strong, they pushed our players harder, and that wasn’t the case last time,” he said, signing off.