Ahead of the home clash against Bengaluru FC, Mumbai City FC coach Alexandre Guimaraes spoke about the progress his side had made since its defeat to the same opponent in their opening game of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 season.
“I continue with the same statement because I watch game after game. In terms of team development, I continue to say that it is growing. Sometimes the development and growth don’t match with the results. We know that we have a chance to stand out again. So we will try the best we can knowing that the league is very compact and the team which lies down is finished. We are not going to lie down. We will keep fighting till March 3 knowing that we have a chance for top four. We will fight with all our resources,” he said at the pre-match press conference on Wednesday.
After having been beaten in controversial circumstances in their last match against the Kerala Blasters, Guimaraes said that his players needed to move on from it.
“Whatever be the sport, when you lose due to something (controversial), it is hard to sleep. It is hard the next day to not think about it, hard to read the newspapers and media. Unfortunately this is part of the game and we have to try our best to move forward. No competitor likes to lose because of something, but it happens sometimes,” the Spaniard said.
With Bengaluru FC also participating in the AFC Cup, the Mumbai City tactician said that playing in the continental competition was one of the targets for his men.
“I hope to (participate in the AFC Cup), it is one of our objectives. The players would like to be in that tournament. Of course, to be there, you have to concentrate on being top four. Then we can see about the rest. Last season when Bengaluru was playing the finals and semi-final, it was good for Indian football, for the local players to participate in that competition. Most of us are here for the development of Indian football,” he commented.
Guimaraes also had high words of praise for in-form striker Balwant Singh and Bengaluru FC skipper Sunil Chhetri and said that Indian football was lucky to have strikers of their ilk.
“From my experience in other countries, I can say that it is not easy for the coach to find a striker with those kinds of capabilities. Be it Balwant, Sunil or Jeje (Lalpekhua). I am very impressed because Indian football has something which coaches would love to have (a good striker). In our case, Balwant has been great for us. He has a good understanding of what we are trying to do. When he plays for the national team, he is a good attacker. This is very good for Indian football to have these types of players,” he explained.
Young defender Davinder Singh was another player singled out for praise by the Mumbai City boss.
“He (Davinder) has been impressive since the first game he has played. He is a very tough defender with good acceleration and speed. He is trying to understand his position, sometimes at centre-back. He is doing fine for the start of his career. He might not be getting as many minutes as he would have liked but we are glad to have such a good youngster in our squad,” Guimaraes stated.
The Spaniard also confirmed that his side was not facing any injury concerns ahead of Thursday’s clash before signing off.