Costa promises Mumbai will get even stronger, James laments tough loss

Mumbai City FC had a night to remember at the Mumbai Football Arena on Sunday as they hammered Kerala Blasters FC 6-1 in the final match before the start of the winter break. The win keeps the Islanders within touching distance of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2018-19 league leaders Bengaluru FC. As for the Blasters, any playoff hopes have been further diminished as a result of the damaging loss. Kerala played the entirety of the second-half with 10 men after Zakeer Mundampara was sent off on the cusp of half-time.

Speaking at the post-match press conference, Mumbai head coach Jorge Costa appreciated the focus and determination of his players in a match which he touted as their most difficult of the season during his pre-match interviews. "I’m very happy. We got three points. We had to be very focused on this game because it was before the break. Three very important points. Now its time to go home, to rest a little bit and to come back stronger than we are in this moment," he said.

The Portuguese also shed some light on Mumbai’s plans for the upcoming transfer window, but didn’t give away any details. "We will see. We are working. I’m happy with this group of players. But if I can have one, I will do it. It's not easy but we are working on it," he said.

Modou Sougou was the star of the show tonight with four goals. Costa, however, lauded the entire team for making it possible for the charismatic striker. "I thought that we played a wonderful game. The full team worked hard. We play as a team and when we do this, it's normal that Sougou and Arnold (Issoko) can do something that people like. He scored the four goals because the team worked. They worked a lot," Costa opined.

Finally, the Islanders boss was asked about the secret behind his team's amazing run of late, to which, he replied, "Nothing special. For me, when I arrived here it was all new. For some players, it was also new. And we needed time to adapt to this new reality. We were the last team to start working and at the beginning, it was difficult for us. But now we understand what we must do. We know all the teams."

Kerala head coach David James, on the other hand, was adamant that his players deserved more from a match. "Second half, with 10 men, we played like it was 12. It was a tremendously spirited performance by our team. I think their performance deserved more. They were time wasting when they were two goals up. They felt some kind of pressure from us. But their performance in the second-half was amazing," James admitted.

The Englishman concluded the post-match press conference by insisting that his players didn’t get the rub of the green on the night. "Mumbai scored some very nice goals. The second-half was tough to take because at 3-1 we had a penalty claim. I’ve got a team who are devastated after losing 6-1. We dominated possession. Yes, they had some wonderful goals, but in the end, decisions went against us. And it’s tough to take," he argued.

Click here to read the match report

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