Khalid Jamil has heaped praise on his Mumbai FC side but lamented his side’s finishing as they wound up only with a draw after going for the jugular against Dempo SC.
“We were going all-out against a weakened Dempo side, whose confidence was low. So I had the belief that we could get a good three points early on in the season, especially as we played at home. But I’m happy with the come back of the team.”
He exonerated his team’s finishing though, claiming they should have done a lot better. “We missed a lot of chances. Climax’s (Lawrence) chance was well saved by the goalkeeper and (Haroon) Amiri and Jayesh (Rane) both missed good opportunities. We should have capitalised on them.”
He was lucid enough to accede to the fact that his team were missing the foreigners who would have added another dimension to his already rigid squad. “Definitely. If you look at Orok Essien, it’s the first time that he’s played fulll ninety minutes and has played only one game earlier this season. We bought him one day before the season began. He’s a good player, but it’ll take time for him to settle.
“If we had Yusif Yakubu, then the match would have been dead and buried. We also missed Sanjdar (Ahmadi) who could have created a massive difference in the game. But, yes we will play them in the next game.”
When asked to explain his tactics in the second half of the game, when Mumbai FC actually took the game to Dempo, Khalid revealed, “Yes it was our plan to put Amiri in the striker’s position if things were to get bad in the second half. It didn’t pivot around (John) Coutinho’s injury woes. Haroon did a good job. He was all over their wing-backs and was involved in all the set-pieces.”
Asked if Dempo played too defensively in the second half, Jamil chose to tread lightly. “When you’re leading one nil especially in the latter stages of a match at an opponent’s ground, the tendency is for you to sit back and protect the lead. They had lost their previous match three-nil, so I believe they sat back to protect their lead.”
Queried on how his side conceded a goal, Khalid pointed to a lack of concentration as the key reason. “We switched-off completely during the corner, forcing us to concede. A silly, soft goal due to a lack of concentration.”
John Coutinho was carried off injured during the match, but Khalid chose to wait until the physio’s assessment to completely determine the nature of the injury while hoping that the rest of his injured pack would return soon.
“John has suffered an ankle injury, but I am not aware of its severity. I’ll wait till we get to Mumbai and consult the doctor whose report I’m dependant before making any decision. Branco (Cardozo) and Subhash 9Chakraborty) are closer to returning. Subhash should play in the next match, Branco - we are not so certain.”
Replying to a question on his transfer activities, Khalid said, “Look, our transfer activities hinged around Indian players. Had foreign players been available in the market, it would’ve been a different story altogether. If you look at the composition of our squad, it’s composed of a relative sixty percent of U-23 talent.”
He chose to verve around suggestions about United Sports Club's capriciousness in substituting an U-23 player five minutes into the match. “I can’t comment on that as I’m not aware of the reasons. Possibly he was injured."
He also revealed that it was a change in the Ghanaian counsellor that has resulted in Yakubu’s transfer taking so long to be accomplished. “We need Yakubu, his presence is immense. All his papers are in order. The only issue being an Foreign's Regional Registration Office, that the Ghanaian ministry and counsellor have to sign. It’s an immigration issue at their end not ours. He should be with us by the next match.”
Queried on the expectations of his team this season, he explained, “Based on our performances so far, without foreigners, I believe there is a lot of scope for improvement. We have to make ourselves a top four side irrespective of anything.”
“I’m currently enjoying my job, but I don’t worry about praise or recognition. I know they’ll follow suit in due time.”
Finally, on issues regarding the pitch and Mumbai FC’s home ground, Khalid enunciated, “The pitch was perfect today and we have no complaints. We look forward to moving into our new home (Cooperage Stadium) in Mumbai. Yes, the support there to our team will be massive. So I’m looking forward to a major rise in support from home. Support is important, we need that.”
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