Mumbai: After a disappointing 0-1 loss against Kerala Blasters FC in their previous game, and that too at home, Mumbai City FC are desperate for a win to keep up the pressure on other teams fighting for the top four slots in the Indian Super League.
Having said that, their opponents, Bengaluru FC, too are looking to overcome their unexpected loss to laggards Delhi Dynamos in an away game not too long ago.
There is a lot at stake for both teams when they meet at Mumbai Sports Arena on Thursday. A win for BFC will see them go back to the top of the points table. On the other hand, Mumbai City FC, which have seen some good results in patches this season, can’t afford any slip up with Kerala Blasters and ATK hot on their heels to make it to the play-offs. And MCFC’s Costa Rican coach Alexandre Guimarães is well aware of that.
“In terms of team performance, I see the team developing. Sometimes this progress doesn’t match the results. And now we have a situation where we have to stand again and we’ll do it. The team which just lay down, will be finished. We’ll not do that. We’ll fight with all our resources to be in the top four,” Guimarães told reporters at the pre-match press conference.
In the reverse fixture earlier in the season, Mumbai were humbled 0-2 by Bengaluru but Guimarães believes his side has improved since.
“The first game, we had too many situations that didn’t allow us to make a good game. They deserved that win for sure. But from that game, we have been building. Our style of play, which has us in this package of eight teams, everybody has a chance to make it to the top four. ISL is like that. You have to be alert, anything can happen. You have to work on how to improve your team and we have been doing that,” the coach added.
If Mumbai have to have any chance of out-gunning Bengaluru, they will have to push their game to another level. BFC, under Albert Roca, are enjoying an incredible debut season in the ISL, and not surprisingly, expectations have grown on them. Bengaluru FC lost their last game against Delhi Dynamos, but their coach feels it’s nothing to worry about.
“It happens. It’s a short season. And see when you have quality behind it’s easy to get back,” he said.
At the same time Roca also feels that there has been an added pressure on his team due to the “favourite tag” that they have been carrying since the start of the tournament.
“We need a balance in our results. We have two wins and then we lose, that’s not good enough. That favourite tag is not good. It puts added pressure on the players when people say ‘oh, you will win everything’. But, though there is pressure, I can tell you that we have the quality to do well,” added Roca
Talking about the game he said, “It’s a tough game and we’ll have to do our best to get the result.”