Mumbai: Mumbai City FC's positive start to season was brought to an end last week as they suffered a loss against Odisha FC in their first home game of the season. In their first two matches, which were played away from home, Mumbai secured four points with a win over Kerala Blasters and stalemate against Chennaiyin FC.
Mumbai entered the home game against Odisha high on confidence but the absence of their star players Modou Sougou, Rowllin Borges and leaky defense resulted in a 2-4 thrashing at the Mumbai Football Arena.
With games coming thick and fast, coach Jorge Costa knows that Mumbai cannot spend too much time fretting over the defeat as they need to pick up the pieces quickly in a fast moving league like ISL. However, Costa's Mumbai are up against their nemesis FC Goa in their match, which will be played in Mumbai on Thursday.
Mumbai lost three of their four matches against Goa under Costa's guidance last season, which also included a 1-5 defeat in the first leg of the playoffs. The only victory for Mumbai came in the second leg of the playoffs match which was 1-0 win.
And Costa is confident that his team could do well again against the Goan side despite the shortcomings of the previous season.
"I agree that the last season was a difficult season for us against Goa," said Costa on the eve of the Mumbai-Goa ISL match. "I know that they have retained almost the same squad from last season. And we have some new players. But this is a different season. The good thing is that we must learn from our mistakes and we did and we know how to beat Goa because we won the last game."
The 48-year-old Portuguese football coach, however, stressed that his team needs to be on their toes against Sergio Lobera's side.
"I am not expecting an easy game, for sure, but I am sure that they are also not expecting an easy game. We respect them and they respect us as well. The most important thing is what we can do and what we must do. When we do the things correctly , we win. When we don't do them correctly, like last game, we get close to defeat. Tomorrow, we must be focused, we must be 100 percent professional. We have to do our job well tomorrow," he said.
Mumbai played their first three matches within a span of eight days but have had a week long break for the Goa tie and the coach added that he has gone over the Odisha defeat multiple times to prepare for the next assignment.
"After the (Odisha) game, I went home and I watched the game at least three times. The players also did the same. And what I felt is that with some more luck the result could have been different but my team also needs to work a lot, we need to fight for the life and we didn't do so in first 45 minutes. So when you don't do your best in 45 minutes, you deserve nothing other than the defeat. It was a bad day for us but we cannot repeat the same mistakes that we did against Odisha.
"I spoke to the players after the defeat against Odisha FC. We have to fix our mistakes and we have to be focused to avoid these mistakes," said Costa.
The football coach also confirmed that Mumbai will be without Sougou, Borges, Sourav Das and Sourav Das for the Goa match.
Mumbai midfielder Mohammed Rafique, who was forced to play out of position as a right-back against Odisha due to injuries to teammates, is also confident of his team's chances against Goa.
"First three matches were played in a short span of time, so this six days gap was welcome change. The team is fresh and we also got time to plan for Goa," said Rafique. "We were out of luck against Odisha but despite the defeat the morale in the team is high. We are like a family on and off the pitch. We have worked on our mistakes from the match and have tried to rectify them."
Goa, who have mesmerised the Indians fans with their free flowing football, are also currently struggling for form. They won their first match by a margin of 3-0 against Chennaiyin but that victory was followed with draws against Bengaluru FC and NorthEast United where they needed two stoppage-time equalisers in both the games.
Updated Date: Nov 06, 2019 20:01:41 IST