Costa hails Mumbai’s team spirit and work ethic ahead of Odisha clash

Mumbai City FC host newcomers Odisha FC at the Mumbai Football Arena on Thursday for what will be their first home match of the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 season. The Islanders did well to get four points from their opening two away fixtures and will be eager to capitalise on their fine start with a win at home.

Ahead of the match, Mumbai head coach Jorge Costa sounded pleased about how his team have started the season and said, "We played two difficult games away from home and we finished those two games with four points. It’s not perfect but we played two games in 72 hours and I'm very happy with all my players. I'm also happy with the four points from two matches and had it been six, I would have been the happiest coach, but four points is not bad. We are now looking ahead to get three points from our next match and that’s how we intend on approaching the rest of the season," Costa told reporters at the pre-match press conference.

The Mumbai City boss then admitted that while there’s scope for improvement from his team, he’s still happy with the squad. “We have to work on a lot of things, but I am happy with my players. We need to work hard every day because that’s the only way to improve on a lot of things. However, the way in which we won (our first match) and the spirit that we showed illustrates that my players work hard at everything. All the players in the club are happy and give their maximum during games. It doesn’t matter if we win, lose or draw as long as we can look each other in the eye after the game,” Costa said.

Sharing his thoughts on how the team has been shaping up so far, the Portuguese head coach opined, “As I have always mentioned, I have 25 players and not 11. I am happy with all of them. We did have injury problems in our first two games but when you see (my players) playing in the league, you can see that they give their 100 per cent and they are performing very well.”

"We do have a solid team and defence this season. We lost Arnold (Issoko), Milan (Singh), Lucian (Goian) and Sehnaj (Singh) from last season but we did bring in some very good replacements and we have to remember that we are Mumbai City FC," Costa added.

The Islanders will, however, go into the fixture with some injury concerns. Mato Grgic sustained a knock in their first match against Kerala Blasters FC, while Modou Sougou had to leave their previous match against Chennaiyin early. Asked about his injury woes, Costa declared, "There are some injury concerns but I'm happy with my squad of 25 players. I've plenty of options to pick my playing XI.”

Costa also insisted that his side have nothing but respect for Odisha despite the travelling side’s shaky start to the season. “They are a good team and play well. They create a lot of chances from the games of their’s that I’ve watched. This season they have zero points from two games, but they were both difficult away games for them. They are playing good like all the other teams, so, irrespective of what position they are in the league standings right now, we must and we do respect them. The most important thing is not going into the clash expecting an easy game because they’ve been playing well, and we must respect them.”

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