Mumbai: Mumbai City FC will welcome a resurgent Kerala Blasters when they take on the visitors from South at the Mumbai Football Arena on Sunday night. The two teams are separated by just three points at the halfway stage of Hero Indian Super League, and Kerala’s new head coach David James has not yet lost a game since his return to the club.
Mumbai City are also in a rich vein of form – unbeaten in three games with two of those being victories. But their head coach Alexandre Guimarães believes that its a different side they’ll be facing when compared to team which drew 1-1 against them in early December this season.
“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. They also have a new foreign player who gives them something different. This is a team which will travel energised,” he said, referring to 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 playoff 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 – and that meant for work for the physios to get his side ready for games in quick succession. He also said that Mumbai City will present a very different challenge compared to 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 of play compared to Delhi – we have to adapt ourselves to that style. 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 said.
Considering the nationwide support Blasters receive, James and company will certainly feel at home at the Mumbai Football Arena creating a good atmosphere for football, and will look to ride on it to turn their season around.