Raynier urges Mumbai teammates to prove their mettle by winning Hero ISL

Mumbai City FC midfielder Raynier Fernandes is eager to right the wrongs from the previous campaigns and help the team prove their mettle by winning Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21. While in conversation with Anant Tyagi in the latest episode of Let’s Football Live, the Mumbai-born midfielder spoke about some of City Football Group’s influence ahead of pre-season as well as the club’s targets for the upcoming campaign. 

“Last season and the season before that, we have had the willpower to fight for every match. Whatever mistakes we have made in the last seasons, we will fix that. With the arrival of the City Football Group, we have a big plus point as well. We got to prove ourselves in the Hero ISL and to do that we need to win the league,” said Raynier.

“My first target is to get back to the team for the pre-season. We have to prepare ourselves mentally. We have to work hard in training, with the fitness regimen that the City Football Group has sent across. Our main aim for the season is win as many matches as we can and get into the playoffs and hopefully, we can bring the trophy home,” he explained.

After spells in Air India’s youth set up and then Mohun Bagan AC, Raynier made the move back home ahead of Hero ISL 2018-19. Playing under former head coach Jorge Costa, the 24-year-old midfielder instantly made an impact, and has gone on to feature 33 times for the Islanders across the last two seasons.

“When I found out that my home club wants me to play for them, I was like ‘why not join this amazing club?’ The experience over the last two seasons has been crazy. I just want to thank the (former) head coach Jorge Costa for giving me the opportunity to play for Mumbai City FC. We could not reach the final in my first season although we reached the playoffs. The entire management is like family and the experience has been amazing,” Raynier shared.

His strong performances with the Islanders helped Raynier earn a call up to the senior national team and a subsequent debut in the King’s Cup. “The best Indian players are selected to play for the national team. I do whatever the coach expects me to do and I enjoy the game and I keep playing. I was very honoured that he gave me the opportunity to play for the national team,” he said.

The 24-tear-old then went on to reveal his admiration for his former skipper and teammate Paulo Machado, he said, “Paulo Machado is someone I would look up to (at Mumbai). We play in a similar position. His game style and the way he plays, is why I always look up to him. He is a very talented guy and I got to learn a lot about football in these two seasons because of him.”

Raynier also had encouraging words for another teammate in defender Sarthak Golui, who enjoyed a solid first season with Mumbai City in Hero ISL 2019-20. “He is a very nice guy. Even in the training he wants to give his best every time, his crosses and the way he tackles, he is always serious in training. Off the field also he is a very humble guy,” he shared.

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