Mustapha Riga: If you play me behind the striker, I can create goals

The former Levante medio put in a top shift for Pune FC against Mohammedan Sporting where he provided two assists...

Mustapha Riga was unlucky not to have been adjudged the man of the match as he excelled for Pune FC in their 2-0 triumph over Mohammedan Sporting. The former Bolton Wanderers attacking midfielder was responsible for creating the two goals for Thongkhosiem Haokip and Gabriel Fernandes respectively.

Riga, who had earlier told Goal that he had never played in a number nine position – where he was being deployed at Pune FC, attributed the good performance against the Kolkata outfit to being reinstated in his natural position as an attacking midfielder.

“Yes, for me it’s very easy you know, the position that I normally play when I’m coming from behind the striker and then creating or making goals. But I can play everywhere, but if you put me here, I know definitely I’m going to bring something to the table.  That is because this is a position that I’m well known of and this is a position that I normally play,” he said.

The 32-year old also praised the effort of Anthony D’Souza and Gabriel Fernandes on the two flanks as they provide the width or even cut inside to shoot.

“It is very good as you have two very quick guys and when you give them to the flank, they do a good job with it. It also means we are going to create more chances.”

When facing a tougher opponent, Riga would have to track back and also do defensive work as a midfielder. Is he up for it?

“Well, if we are standing good and if we keep the ball well, and if we don’t lost the ball very quickly, then their (opposition’s) defense has to follow me there. But if we are losing the ball the whole time, yes that is when I have to follow them. So, you can see it like, if we are stronger, then their defense will have to come back after me,” he explained.

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