Costa: Choosing my starting eleven won’t be easy this season

Mumbai City FC take on a buoyant Kerala Blasters FC in their first match of the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 season at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Thursday. Kerala come into the tie fresh off a scintillating win over arch-rivals ATK, but the Islanders will hope to cut their celebrations short at Kochi.

Speaking at the pre-match press conference, Mumbai head coach Jorge Costa spoke about the new-look Kerala side and their new head coach Eelco Schattorie. "We cannot compare the Kerala (Blasters) of this season from the last because they have a new coach and new players. We studied the team in their first game. For me, it was the first time I saw Kerala play, but it was not a surprise. I’ve seen many of their players play, and their coach was here last season as well."

Rowllin Borges, who was one of NorthEast United’s key midfielders last season under Schattorie, joined the Islanders in the summer transfer window and is expected to play a big role in Costa's plans for this season. Sharing his thoughts about Rowllin, the Portuguese gaffer stated, "Fortunately for us, we signed him before the other clubs did. I am sure he will help us a lot during the season. He is a type of player we didn't have last season."

With an abundance of other quality Indian players in the squad, Costa also opined that selecting his starting XI won't be an easy task. "We have (Rowllin) Borges and Raynier (Fernandes) this season. The good thing is that I have a lot of options among the Indian players. It is not an easy decision to choose my starting 11 from a squad of 25. It is not an easy decision for any coach. Fortunately, I have a lot of Indian players with a lot of quality in different positions."

Costa was accompanied by Kunal Sawant at the presser. The young goalkeeper, when asked about his chances of playing this season, said, "Amrinder (Singh) is one of the captains, so I have to fight for my place and try my best in training. I’m waiting for my chance to come."

Read the Match Preview here.

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