Hugo Boumous: Sergio Lobera gives the freedom to express myself on the pitch

Hugo Boumous Mumbai City FC ISL 7Mumbai City FC

Mumbai City FC midfielder Hugo Boumous has admitted that facing former side FC Goa in the 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL) will be an emotional affair.

"It's a special game because I spent the last three seasons there. We won trophies and it was nice. Of course, it will be a bit emotional but not that much. It will be nice to play against a few former team-mates but most of the players and the coach (Juan Ferrando, at FC Goa) have also changed. So it will just be another game to win and we have to be very focused on that," he told Goal.

The Frenchman joined the Goan ISL franchise, who at the time had Sergio Lobera as head coach, during the January 2018 transfer window. Since then, he has improved in every season and helped the Gaurs win the 2019 Super Cup and also be the first team to win the ISL League Winners' Shield which guaranteed the club a spot in the AFC Champions League group stages. 

With 11 goals and 10 assists last season, he was awarded the Hero of the League award and it must be noted that no player has won this gong consecutively. 

"I don't think about that (winning the Hero of the League award again). This is not what I'm focused on," he stated. "I'm focused only to do the best for the team as I can and help my team-mates in the best possible way to play nice football and get the best possible results. This is because we have great ambition at Mumbai this season."

FC Goa Hugo Boumous Mumbai CityISL

The 25-year-old started his career with the youth team of French side Laval and was subsequently promoted to the senior team. Thereafter, he joined Moroccan club Moghreb Tetouan where Sergio Lobera was the head coach. He spent one season under Lobera before the Spanish coach decided to join FC Goa.

Less than six months later, Boumous was in Goa to join his former coach. After Lobera parted ways with FC Goa before the end of the league stage last season, the former Las Palmas coach was snapped by Mumbai City FC and it wasn't surprising to see Boumous follow in his footsteps.

"We have built a strong relationship from our time together but what makes the difference is that he gives me a lot of freedom to express my game in my position. The fact that he gives me a lot of confidence which allows me to express myself on the pitch in the best possible manner. This is the best for me and also the team, because my first target is to help my team shine," said Boumous.

Coming to Mumbai City, he had nothing but praise for City Football Group (CFG) who have recently taken over the ISL franchise. He mentioned that the aim of the club is not just win trophies but also to play an attacking brand of football which would be attractive to Indian fans.

"The City Football Group put the team in the best possible condition. They provide us with all what we need. Of course, City Footbal Group wants to play a certain football with a certain philosophy," he continued.

Hugo Boumous Ahmed Jahouh Mumbai City ISL 7Mumbai City FC

"We want to play beautiful football and I think that this is what we will try to achieve with our coach Sergio Lobera and my team-mates. This is what we are working on in the pre-season."

Mumbai City, before their game with FC Goa where besides Boumous, Ahmed Jahouh, Mourtada Fall and Mandar Rao Dessai will be reunited with their former side, face NorthEast United in their season opener on Saturday.

"It can be a big test against NorthEast because it's the opener and we didn't get a lot of time to prepare ourselves. The pre-season has been very special (unique) with the restrictions (staying in the bio-bubble). 

"At the same time, it has been a short time to work together. I think we have 19 new players. So it's difficult, in a short time to know each other very well - to create competition on the pitch is also very important. 

"So we don't know what we can expect but one thing we can be sure of is that we will be ready. We will be 100 per cent motivated to get the three points," warned Boumous.