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"We've no specific plans for ATK Mohun Bagan" - Mumbai City FC head coach Sergio Lobera

Mumbai City FC Head Coach Sergio Lobera interacts with the press before the ISL Final.
Mumbai City FC Head Coach Sergio Lobera interacts with the press before the ISL Final.
FEATURED WRITER

Mumbai City FC head coach Sergio Lobera has interacted with the press through a virtual conference ahead of the Indian Super League (ISL) final meeting with ATK Mohun Bagan FC.

Lobera talked about the Mariners, Mumbai City FC's playing style, absence of key players and the City Football Group (CFG). Here are the edited excerpts:

Sergio Lobera, who shared his thoughts on ATK Mohun Bagan FC, insisted that his side won't treat the Mariners differently.

''They are a great team with great momentum. We have no specific plans for them, it all boils down to our style of play and what we do in the final regardless of our opposition,'' he said.

Mumbai City FC left-back Mandar Rao Dessai is suspended for the final after picking up two yellow cards in the semi-final tie with FC Goa. Lobera admitted that the 28-year-old's absence is a big blow for his side.

''The absence of Mandar Rao Dessai is a big jolt for the side. He plays a key role as a supplier and also, as a blocker down the wings. He has been absolutely crucial for us. It is not easy for me to accept that he will not play the final,'' he stressed.

FC Goa drew 2-2 and 0-0 against FC Goa in the two-legged semi-final, and it required a penalty shootout to separate the two teams. Lobera conceded that his side were under the cosh in the second leg.

''FC Goa have a similar style of play to ours. They like to play with the ball. Things were tricky for us in the second semi-final. However, we (Mumbai City FC) kept our spirits up and made it through to the final, and I am proud of my boys,'' Lobera explained.

"It's not always possible to control the game" - Sergio Lobera

Mumbai City FC have looked a pragmatic side in the ISL this season, with the Islanders being flexible in their approach.

"It's not always possible to control the game and have the ball. We have to keep evolving our style of play. Sometimes it is not possible to play your style, so we have to be adaptative. Our style of play in the final will be our natural way of playing,'' Lobera said.

Despite having a short pre-season, Sergio Lobera is satisfied with the way Mumbai City FC have fared in the current campaign.

"It wasn't easy for the newer players in the squad to adapt to our style of play. The pre-season was short, and it took us a month into the league to settle down. We had to use videos, statistics, data and visuals to implement our distinct playing style. I am very happy that we have managed to achieve our targets so far,'' he added.

Sergio Lobera signed off with words of praise for the City Football Group (CFG) for working closely with Mumbai City FC.

''I think all the teams have their spending under the designated salary cap. Money is not equal to winning trophies. Players are joining us because they want to play for this club and play in our system. There is pressure on us to perform in the ISL final and I like this kind of pressure. This is a great project under the City Football Group (CFG) to work with Mumbai City FC and I am very happy with the support, the management has given us,'' Lobera concluded.

The Indian Super League (ISL) final between Mumbai City FC and ATK Mohun Bagan FC will kick-off at 07.30 PM IST on Saturday.

Edited by Samya Majumdar
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