Preview: Mumbai City FC will welcome a resurgent Kerala Blasters FC when they meet in an Indian Super League (ISL) clash at the Mumbai Football Arena in Mumbai on Sunday night.
The two teams are separated by just three points at the halfway stage of the ISL and Kerala's new head coach David James has not yet lost a game since his return to the club.
Mumbai are at the fifth spot in the 10-team league ladder with 14 points from nine matches. Kerala, on the other hand, are seventh with 11 points from nine matches.
Mumbai City are going through a rich vein of form and are unbeaten in the last three games with two of those being victories.
But their head coach Alexandre Guimarães believes that its a different side that they will face on Sunday when compared to the team which drew 1-1 against them in early December.
"A new coach shakes up everyone -- those being left on the bench, those starting, everyone. They have won a very important game away and it has made them alive and that is a warning for us that we cannot give them any chances," Guimarães said.
"They also have a new foreign player who gives them something different. This is a team which will travel energised," he added, referring to Kerala's new signing Keziron Kuzito, who has made a good start to life in Indian football.
That said, Guimarães was confident of his side's ability and said that half of their season's mission was complete.
"Our first goal of the season was to finish close to the play-off spots at the halfway stage and I think we've accomplished that. This has put us in a good situation to continue to compete and we hope that we can make the most from run of home games now. I am very confident that we have the resources and the players to fight till the end and be in the top four - that is for sure," he said.
He added that he was curious to see how his side will penetrate the organised defence line of the Blasters.
As for the Blasters, their head coach David James said that Mumbai were at a slight advantage with the extra rest they have had.
He also said that Mumbai City will present a very different challenge as compared to teh Delhi Dynamos, who Kerala beat 3-1 in their previous game.
"It was important that we were disciplined and showed no fear. We had to get the result, especially given the results around us. And that is what we have to do tomorrow. Mumbai have a different style as compared to Delhi. We have to adapt ourselves to that style," James said.
"Fortunately we have a good coaching staff and have had the opportunity to prepare. As much as the win was enjoyable against Delhi, this is about another away game and we still have to do some things right which we were not able to," he added.
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Updated Date: Jan 14, 2018 23:25:28 IST