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ISL 2018-19: We can do well as a team, says Mumbai City FC defender Goian

316   //    07 Mar 2019, 19:54 IST

Lucian Goian is hoping for a collective performance from Mumbai City FC against FC Goa. [Image: ISL]
Lucian Goian is hoping for a collective performance from Mumbai City FC against FC Goa. [Image: ISL]

He’s the most experienced player in Mumbai City FC. Lucian Goian is what every coach hopes for in a team. He’s good on the field, a leader that carries the side often against the tide and off it, a man who is eager to help the younger crop speed up to the expectations that come along wearing the Mumbai blue.

Against FC Goa on Saturday in the first leg of the semifinal of the Indian Super League, the Romanian will be expected to be at his best – both on and off the pitch – if Mumbai is to have any chance of making it to the final of March 17. And Goian is clear about what’s expected from him. “There’ll be a lot of pressure. These games come with a lot of pressure and I expect the boys to be up for the task,” he says speaking exclusively to Sportskeeda.

“If you cannot, I don’t think you are made for professional football. In my career, I have played a lot of games under pressure. Games with stadiums full, everyone expects you to do well for the team. You have to handle the pressure. We have some experienced players in the team, it’s up to us to get the youngsters up to the task. We need to focus on what we have to.”

'Focus' is something that this team under head coach Jorge Costa has been found wanting on many occasions. The Islanders had a wobbly start to the season that saw them lose two for their four games at the start of the season before they rediscovered their mojo and went on a nine-game unbeaten run, a club record.

Though the towering Romanian would have loved to be on the right side of the result every single time, he knows what the game demands and what it can teach you if you aren’t up for the task.

“We had a new team and a new coach. You need to understand that it takes time to get used to his ways. It takes time for things to click and to understand what the coach wants from us to build a certain style of football. Many of us didn’t start well. Many of us hadn’t played together before, so maybe that’s the reason we didn’t start well. But then we came back and had a good run of nine unbeaten games. That means that the team improved,” he said.

In the semifinal, the Islanders are up against FC Goa, a team they have found hard to tackle in the league phase. The two games in the regular season between the two ended with the Goans walking away with comfortable wins. But Goian chose to look at the problem in a different manner.

“Look, in the league phase, especially the home game (against Goa), we created a few chances, but we didn’t take those. That’s the difference. But, for sure, we’ll be different now."

“On the attack, yes, they have been good. But I think they’ll be having the exact same problem, trust me. (Modou) Sougou has been scoring for us, Arnold (Issoko), Paulo (Machado) has been good in the front too. We have a couple of good players too. Yes, Coro and Edu Bedia have been good this season. But I think, if we play as a team, we can definitely do well.”