Mumbai FC registered their first home win of the season as they downed East Bengal 3-2 at the Balewadi Sports Complex, Pune on Monday.
Khalid Jamil believes that his side’s complexion has changed for good following the signings of Yusif Yakubu, Mohammed Rafi, N.P.Pradeep, Peter Costa and Khelemba Meetei.
“The result shows it and thus the change is seen. We finished whatever chances we got. Yakubu’s presence itself changed the impression.”
“I was more concerned with using all these players like Rafi, Pradeep, Yakubu and also Khelemba. So I had to use them well and in the same team. Experienced players make a difference. Every match is a different case. Now in this team experience counted. The temperament and pressure was handled by the team well. It was a must win situation. Talking about players- Yakubu was class, his first touch of the season was a goal. Also Climax (Lawrence), Pradeep and Rafi gelled with the team well. Also Haroon (Amiri) and Khelemba was a well balanced combination.”
Mumbai FC have struggled to score goals throughout and winning against arguably the best team on paper by scoring three goals past them was certainly a confidence booster.
“All we wanted to do was to win. Be it 1-0 or 2-0. Secondly, we have had a lot of bad luck. We got a red card unfortunately in the game. Then Yakubu initially wasn’t fit either as he had a severe bout of dehydration. But still he said he was fine and he played on, so kudos to him.
“He’s really made the difference today. The team doctor said he couldn’t play and still he played. We had to perform some tests on him and finally he was declared fit and he started. He had fallen unconscious in training and we had to take him to hospital. He got up and wanted to play the next game, but we rested him and today he played the full ninety minutes.”
Ahmad Hatifie was sent-off as he picked his second yellow card late in the game however Jamil praised his performance.
“Hatifie will miss the next game. There is no way to pull back the suspension. He played really well today. I was going to replace him with Yakubu as our fourth foreign player. But we played a practice match and he showed us his quality. So I took the decision to replace (Hashmatullah) Barikzai with Yakubu as Hatife took his chance.”
Sanjdar Ahmadi was admitted into a hospital as he suffered breathing problems and Jamil assured the Mumbai FC fans that the Afghanistan international is fine.
“He’s okay. He had cramps. He had breathing problems and the ambulance was free. So we have to use it. But he’s fine now. He called me and told me he’s fine. It happened after the match.”
Jamil mentioned that East Bengal midfielder Cavin Lobo should also have been sent-off as the midfielder was involved in several poor tackles.
"I think he could’ve gotten a second yellow. I may not have seen the incidents properly, but yes, he picked up an early yellow, so with the tackles he made I feel he could've gotten a red. But I have no opinion on the referee’s decisions as I didn’t see it clearly. I felt the referee needed to control the game, especially since we were up 3-1 against East Bengal.”
Jamil was pleased to downed Colaco’s East Bengal given the respect he has for the former India coach.
“I consider him my guru and also as one of the best coaches in India. I’m honoured to have played against and coached beside him for years. I’ve lost a fair few times, about nine or ten times. Yet after all those failures to win against my role model - one of the few Indian coaches I give respect to. He’s one of them. I’ve learnt a lot from him. He has a cool temperament. He’s special because he can handle a lot of pressure. He helped East Bengal win against Mohun Bagan in the Kolkata derby in his first game. He knows what to do. He’s a very balanced person and I can learn a lot from him. He is perfect.”
Mumbai FC next face Pune FC in the Maharashtra derby in round 13 of the I-League and Jamil hopes to get a positive result.
“We have to be geared up to face them. We have to play with the same tempo and guile and somehow get a result. That’s important. We have to use this as a building block. We have to rest these players and encourage them with words. If you motivate them financially and emotionally, like I told them before the match that I would try to get them a bonus if they won. You have to do things like this to kick them into action. They are working hard and doing a good job, no doubt. They are taking time to settle in.”
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