Mumbai City head coach Sergio Lobera is not surprised with the performance of Hyderabad, who are still unbeaten after five matches this season. The Nizams have three draws and two wins which includes a 3-2 win over East Bengal in their last outing. Despite several injury concerns, the Hyderabad outfit have done reasonably well with their Indian contingent doing well.
"For me, it's not a surprise because I know the profile of the players and I know the coach (Manuel Marquez) very well. I know his style of play. The injuries to (Hyderabad's) foreigners have given the Indian players more opportunities to play and they (Indian players) have shown a very good level. The performance of their Indian players is a good example when they have the opportunity to play. I enjoy watching their games and I'm sure it will be a very good game. Both teams like to play with the ball and attack with a very good philosophy. I think it's possible to enjoy the game for 90 minutes and hopefully, in the end we will get three points," said Lobera.
Mumbai City FC could only pick a point in their last match on Monday as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Jamshedpur FC, who were down to 10 men around the half hour mark.
Lobera explained that Jamshedpur's defence was difficult to breach as they are a side who are equally comfortable with or without the ball.
"We were playing against 10 players for a long time but the defence of the team (Jamshedpur) is a different situation. For example, Jamshedpur is comfortable playing defensively. Hyderabad with 10 players would be different. They (Hyderabad) are a strong team with the ball and maybe, Jamshedpur is strong [even] without the ball and with the ball also. We need to learn to manage the situation with the ball and because we create a lot of chances with the players we have, we need to score a lot of goals."
Mumbai City are placed top of the ISL table with 13 points from six games. The Spaniard pointed that given the short pre-season they had due to Covid-19 pandemic, after six matches it's fair to state that their pre-season has ended now. The former FC Goa coach highlighted that for Mumbai City, it's not the results alone which matter but the manner in which they achieve the same is equally important.
"I'm happy because I think our progress is good. It's not easy because of the situation. In a real situation, we are at the end of the pre-season after six (matches) but I am happy with the results. The players are working hard every day. In the end, as professionals, the most important thing is to win games but for us, it's very important to improve our performance."
Lobera has rotated his squad this season with Adam Le Fondre and Bartholomew Ogbeche being the two number nines in the squad. On the two occasions, they duo have started together, Mumbai City have only picked a point from a possible six.
"Adam is obviously a very (good) player. I don't like to speak about an individual because it's about the team but his experience will definitely help the team. He's a very good finisher and it's a pleasure for me to have players like Adam, Ogbeche and other players. Finally, it's possible for an individual to shine when the team is working well and this is the most important thing. I'm happy about the results. I think we can improve a lot in terms of our style of football. We had a short time to prepare but the most important thing is to focus on the future. Sometimes we need to analyse as professionals that we need to improve. It's not only about the win. If we don't improve some things, it's difficult (to keep winning)," reasoned Lobera.