Costa: We want three points from NorthEast clash

After consecutive 4-2 defeats in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20, Mumbai City FC travel to the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati for a clash against NorthEast United FC on Wednesday. The Islanders began their campaign with four points from their first two games and will be hoping to secure maximum points against the Highlanders to get their season back on track.

Mumbai’s head coach Jorge Costa, though, sounded confident heading into the encounter, while also comparing their start this season to that of last year. “Our start is exactly like last year. Last year after four games we had four points and this year after four games, we have four points. It’s not what we wanted, we started the league well but then had some physical problems and were not at our best. But anyway, I still have full confidence in my players. They know what they have to do, and I know what I have to do. We have a difficult game against NorthEast United and it’s a game that we want three points from,” he told reporters at the pre-match press conference.

The 48-year-old coach insisted that the climate in Guwahati could work in his players’ favour. “If there’s a difference in the temperature here, then I feel it will be good for us and better for my players to play. The conditions in Mumbai are that it’s very hot and there’s a lot of humidity. We must be prepared to play in all conditions, but I prefer to play in this kind of weather as opposed to when it’s too hot and humid,” Costa said.

NorthEast are unbeaten this season, but Costa asserted that his side are good enough to come away with maximum points from the game. “We are not expecting an easy game. We know how NorthEast play and we know that we will have a tough game against them but as I told you I believe in my players and I believe in my work. I believe after the game against NorthEast, we can leave with three points.”

However, Costa kept his cards close to his chest when asked for an injury update. “There are some problems with a few players and we still have one day to assess the situation. We have 24 hours left before the game against NorthEast and I may decide on the line-up in the next three hours or so.”  

The Portuguese coach also shared his thoughts on the constantly improving standards of the Hero ISL. “I think all of us are learning every day. For sure, this year the quality is better than last season. We know that we still have a lot of work to do and I am here with my experience to try and bring something to this league. This is a league that grows every year, but we still have a lot of work to do,” Costa opined.

Mumbai custodian Amrinder Singh joined Costa at the pre-match briefing and the Indian shot-stopper revealed that the mood in the dressing room is upbeat despite successive losses. “I feel that the mood in the dressing room has always been good because our coach knows how to manage the team and he knows what to do as well as what not to do. Yes, we haven’t started the season well, but we have a very good team. We also picked up a few injuries after the first two games, which is why the international break has been good for us. It gives us time to recover from injuries, prepare and learn from the mistakes that we made in the previous game. I feel that we are now fully ready to start the season.” Amrinder said.

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