'This is football, not ballet, there will be contact', Jorge Costa swats away accusations of Mumbai City FC being 'too robust'
Before the international break, Mumbai City FC were thrashed 4-2 by an effervescent FC Goa outfit as the Islanders’ search for an elusive home victory continued. However, they found immense comfort on the road, meaning that they turned in commendable performances against ATK and NorthEast United over the past week.
Yet, akin to many a time this campaign, individual mistakes reared their ugly heads. Inevitably, Jorge Costa was quizzed about the remedy he was hoping to use to cure that malaise. He replied,
For me, that is a concern because it has lost us crucial points this season. However, I feel that individual mistakes are the easier part to correct. The more difficult aspect is playing well as a team and playing with a fighting spirit. We have been doing that and hopefully we will cut out the errors.
Consequently, he opened up on the upward trajectory the side had traversed after the international break. He talked about how he was extremely happy with the displays and how it had been considerably better than earlier, thereby indicating at a change in fortunes, result-wise.
However, he also mentioned that he intended to help minimise the lapses in concentration and keeping up the high levels of intensity. In the process, Costa was asked about a rather interesting stat that cast Mumbai as the team to have committed the most number of fouls in the ISL. He swiftly batted aside those accusations, stating,
This is football, not ballet. In football, we have contact. Some people with a lot of responsibility in Indian football try to make an opinion. There are referees around to give decisions and we should allow them to. I am currently the head coach at Mumbai City and as a person, I enjoy the contact. Everywhere around the world, we have contact and in my opinion, we [Mumbai City] can play harder.
Apart from the above, the Portuguese, akin to countless people across the country, also expressed surprise at the number of goals being conceded in the dying moments of matches. But, he remarked that maintaining concentration might be the only way to eliminate that deficiency.
Finally, the Mumbai City manager was asked about how his side had progressed over the past couple of seasons, with a marked transformation in their style of play, a facet Eelco Schattorie was quick to point out. Costa quipped,
Looks like Eelco is doing his homework. But, yes, there has been a change and I have said before as well that it depends on what players you have. When you prepare to make a special dish, if you don’t have the ingredients, you don’t make it. It’s the same in football and I try to zero in on the approach that would suit us best. And, if that leads to a better style, it’s down to the players I have at my disposal.
Amine Chermiti, who accompanied his manager for the press conference, also remarked on how he had gotten more acclimatised to his new surroundings, after a patchy beginning. Moreover, the Tunisian has recently hit his straps, meaning that the club look significantly better on the offensive front.
As for the upcoming game, both Chermiti and Costa opined that it was a vital clash, especially considering Mumbai’s uninspiring run mid-way through the campaign. The latter said,
We are under pressure tomorrow because results have not been going our way. But, in football, there is always pressure and I feel we need to handle it. And, if we can’t handle pressure, we should do something else. I don’t like talking about the opposition and other people’s house but I want to concentrate on my team.
Hence, on the eve of the encounter, Costa had laid down the law on several aspects, stating that he wanted his side to continue their good work, handle the pressure set to come their way and ultimately fight harder.
And, that perhaps, was the best picture the Portuguese could paint, especially with a crunch contest looming.