Mumbai City FC head coach Petr Kratky urged his side to focus on their gameplan as they face FC Goa in the first-leg of second semi-final at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Goa on Wednesday.

The Islanders come into their semi-final clash off a devastating loss in the Shield race in the final fixture of the season, against Mohun Bagan Super Giant. Mumbai City FC, managed to finish the regular season just one point behind the Shield winners, owning much to their effective attacking philosophy on the pitch. 

On the other hand, FC Goa, were one the favorites for this season's Shield themselves before hitting a downswing mid-way through the season, slipping from the top spot. The Gaurs, however, recovered and went on a seven-match unbeaten streak until the end of the league stage, finishing third They then beat Chennaiyin FC in the one-legged knockout clash to book a place in the semi-final.  

The pre-match press conference began with head coach Kratky elaborating on their approach for the upcoming clash and the mood in the camp going before a crucial tie. 

"Look, it's the (semi-)finals. It's a little bit different competition than the main competition. So, we have two games, so we have to be really ready from the start. I'm happy because boys look positive they bounced back. But, we have a lot of things to improve from the season passed and going to the final. So, we are ready and we are looking good," Kratky stated

Kratky also shared his thoughts on facing FC Goa. The Gaurs and Mumbai City FC have clashed twice this season, with both their league games ending in a draw.  

He stated, "FC Goa is a very good team and they had a very good first half of the season, so they were on the top of the ladder, five points clear. They picked up some injuries and then had a little bit of a drop because of that. But they are bouncing back nowthat's why they are where they are. So, we have to be aware of their quality."

He continued, "Everyone saw the game against Chennaiyin FC, they dominated. They were a better team in my opinion. So they're a quality team. So it'll be a very close game. Two good teams against each other.

"We are fully aware of their quality but we also know about us, how good we are, and how good we can be as well. But, we have to approach the game well from the start so that will be very important," the coach added.

This season's ISL has been one of the most competitive yet, and the Islanders' two-legged semi-final against the Gaurs is building up to be one with the same intense competitiveness that we witnessed throughout the season. Kratky was requested to share his vision on how he sees the two legs panning out, especially with the preparation going into the fixture. 

"We have to start well. It's all about the mindset than anything else. And we must make sure the players are physically, and mentally ready for that. As you know there are extra times always and hot conditions as well for both teams. So, will be not easy but we have to dig deep and work hard because we have something to pay back to our fans and do well,m in the finals," he said.

Lachenpa: It's a thin margin between success and failure 

Goalkeeper Phurba Lachenpa accompanied head coach Kratky during the pre-match press conference ahead of their semi-final clash against FC Goa.

Lachenpa has been one of the best goalkeepers in this season of the ISL, contributing massively to the Islanders' success, keeping eight clean sheets.

Lachenpa was asked to elaborate on his rock-solid performances between the sticks this season where he has kept several clean sheets alongside making some very crucial saves, and how he maintained such momentum over a prolonged period.

"First of all I think, as I mentioned before, whether it's a clean sheet or if it's a win or a draw, I think it's a whole team effort. We defend as a team and we attack as a team. So the credit goes to all the team, all the players who have come and helped always and who have always been there for the team. It's always up to the teamwork because not only do I make saves, but defenders also do their job. So yeah, credit goes to the whole team," he stated. 

The 26-year-old was invited to share the most crucial aspect of his gameplay as a goalkeeper. 

"I think for us as a goalkeeper there is a thin margin between success and failure because we start lots of passes and we start a lot of attacks as well as we defend. So yeah, those things are very important. Like trying to sometimes, read the game like from the back, coming to sweep as well as like anticipating sometimes where the ball is coming, how the attackers are coming, you know, those are very important aspects of my game like reading the game before it (the ball) reaches the six-yard box,he responded as the press conference came to a close.