Guimaraes admits Mumbai lost to a better team
Mumbai City FC head coach Alexandre was gracious in his team’s exit from Hero Indian Super League 2016 after a goalless draw in the second leg of their semifinal against Atlético de Kolkata at the Mumbai Football Arena on Tuesday evening. After losing the first leg in Kolkata 3-2, the hosts came into the match in a must-win situation but failed to deliver under pressure.
Speaking to the media after the match, Guimaraes took their semi-final exit in his stride. “I just have to say that we had a fantastic season. I spoke with the players ahead of the Delhi game as to whether we wanted to finish first or second and I told the players we always play to win for the first place. For Mumbai, I think this is fantastic, to have a chance to play a semi-final and to have this experience of playing a semi-final and giving the fans a chance to experience this,” he said.
The Costa Rican added: “I am proud of my players and we had our chances but unfortunately we did not score and like I said we knew that we have a very tough rival that plays well and knows how to play in the semi-final and that’s why they are in the final two times. It is a learning process for the organisation, for the players and I think we contributed during the whole season with a style of play that everybody enjoyed, and of course we are disappointed as we wanted to get to the final. Today we played with all the means to get there and they defended better in the second half.”
Guimaraes also admitted that the Mumbaikars missed the services of marquee man Diego Forlan, who couldn’t feature in the match on account of a red card he picked up in Kolkata after a foul on Jewel Raja. “I think in crucial moments, these kinds of players can help the guys on the pitch to be a little cool. He has contributed well throughout the season,” he said.
Guimaraes also defended Sunil Chhetri, who missed a great goal-scoring opportunity early into the match. “Like I said earlier, I am very proud of the players, of what they have done in the whole season and this is football and he helped us very much in the final run to the semi-final, so I have nothing to tell him,” he said.
“The organisation have to learn for next season, like we had issues regarding some Bengaluru FC players and then Gaston Sangoy got injured, so the organisation has to analyse very well as to what we have done that took us to the semi-final and what they have to do to get the future team to the semi-final and the final.”