Costa: Equal pressure to perform on both teams

Mumbai City FC take on Kerala Blasters FC at the Mumbai Football Arena on Thursday, seeking their second win in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20. Kerala Blasters were beaten by the Islanders when they faced off at Kochi earlier in the season and the Blasters will, undoubtedly, be looking to exact revenge on Mumbai City.

Mumbai City come into the game having lost their last two home matches, whereas Kerala Blasters have lost their last two away matches and while addressing the media at the pre-match conference, Islanders head coach Jorge Costa spoke about added pressure, stating, “Both teams have an equal amount of pressure. We do not know about the opponents, but I can be clear in saying that we have played under pressure and I’ll tell you why. We need to be closer to the place in the league table that we want to be and we deserve to be in. But this pressure is a part of football. Football is all about the pressure and we must know how to deal with such pressure.”

The Portuguese coach then rued some of the mistakes made by his side this season but was proud of his team’s resilience in their last two games, Costa said, “It’s always a problem in between games, when you lose points over individual mistakes. But the thing that we must take from these last two games is that we are playing as a team. We are fighting. We have a lot of quality in our game. We just need to be more focused, to work and to fix these small mistakes. The most difficult thing is to perform well, and we are doing that. As a team, I’m very happy with the performance of my team over the last two games.”

Despite already beating Kerala Blasters in their own backyard this season, the 48-year-old coach downplayed Mumbai’s chances against Eelco Schattorie’s side. “Well, it’s a different game now. Our first game of the season, we won against them away from home. It was a good game, but Thursday’s game will be a different game and a very important game for us. They are one of the best teams, because I respect all the teams and I think there is a good balance between all the teams. But they are one of the teams that make a great effort. We must respect them. We must try to not make more mistakes and fight until the end for the three points,” he said.

Mumbai City’s defence has come under the radar, having conceded 12 goals in six matches. However, Costa refused to find fault in any individual. “Firstly, people see football like this – if we don’t score its Amine’s fault. If we concede it’s Amrinder’s fault. But I don’t see football like this. I see football like a team game, so if we don’t score it’s not because of Amine, it’s because we didn’t play well enough. Similarly, it’s not the fault of any of the defenders if we concede. This is a team, we must play as a team, and we are playing as a team. We are working on the individual mistakes. I’m here to try to do the right things.”  

Joining the Mumbai City head coach was Tunisian striker Amine Chermiti, who expressed his delight in playing for the Islanders, “Very happy to be a part of this team. It’s very important for a striker to score. I try to give my best to the team. Whenever you come to a new club, communication can become an issue. But I would like to thank everyone in the team because they have helped me integrate.” 

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