Yet, rather unfortunately, they fell agonizingly short, although that didn’t stop Jorge Costa from raving about the attitude that his players had showcased.
I am very proud to be coach of this team. With all the problems that we had since the beginning of the season, we fought till the last second. And, this is the image of my team.
In fact, the Portuguese also took time out to draw an intriguing analogy between football and war, stating,
Sometimes, football is like war. I want to kill no one but in terms of strategy and the way we all attack together and defend together. It’s true that we went into this war with some stones and shotguns and nothing special. The others had drones and airplanes. But, we never give up. From the first day, we gave our all and we should keep our heads high.
Additionally, when quizzed about whether the Portuguese would be back for the next season, he replied,
If the owners want me, I will stay. I have enjoyed my time here in Mumbai and I enjoy being here. However, there are other things that need to be discussed.
However, Costa also seemed aware of the fact that his side had eventually succumbed to the sheer number of mistakes that were committed throughout the course of the season.
We make mistakes and we are not in the play-offs because we made a lot of mistakes. But, in football and life, we make mistakes as we are not perfect. But, as I said to our players at the end, we have nothing to be ashamed of. We did our best from the first day to the last second and we need to keep our heads high.
The game at the Mumbai Football Arena, in sync with the high stakes on offer, served up an incredibly cagey game, wherein clear-cut chances were at a premium. Both teams were wary of taking too many risks and leaving themselves open, meaning that neither outfit was able to impose itself in an attacking sense.
The game was a little bit 50-50, although it was a bit more for us than Chennaiyin. We created chances to score and we tried. We are not Barcelona or Manchester City. I respect my players but I am not stupid to not understand that. I am not stupid to ask too many things and I am very proud of all the work we have put in.
Thus, even as Mumbai’s 2019-20 ISL campaign came to a grinding halt, Costa stayed true to his ideals, maintaining that the determination and grit displayed by his players instilled immense pride in him as a manager.
Unfortunately, though, football, at times, doesn’t pay much heed to such narratives and for all the spirit the Islanders have showcased, they now have to watch the semi-finals of the ISL from afar.Published 21 Feb 2020, 23:12 IST