Lobera hails Mumbai City after ‘important’ win over Odisha

Mumbai City secured their third consecutive win in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 after a 2-0 victory over Odisha FC at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Sunday, and the Islanders’ Spanish head coach Sergio Lobera was happy with his team’s performance but expects more consistency from his players as the season goes by.

“During some periods of the game, the team felt like they were playing the way I wanted them to. But I believe the first half was not good for us because we can improve our performance. In the second half we played very well. The most important thing is to keep following our style of play for the whole 90 minutes,” Lobera said during the post-match press conference.

The win took the Islanders to the top of the Hero ISL table but the Spaniard does not give much importance to being on top so early into the season. "We need to put our focus on the game and not on the table. We need to prepare the games well. We don't need to think about the league table when we are playing the matches,” Lobera said.

Lobera elaborated what his team needs to do all through the season. “This win is important for us. We need to keep possession and have the ball. We need to be ambitious in the final third as well and score. This is very important for us. We have to keep the ball, play it forward and create more chances,” he said.

Lobera has been rotating his forwards, with main frontmen Bartholomew Ogbeche and Adam le Fondre starting together only once in their four matches so far. “Both are very good players and persons as well. They understand very well that first comes the team and then they come themselves. But this is my job. I am very happy with the attitude of the players,” Lobera said.

Meanwhile, Odisha FC head coach Stuart Baxter was content with the opening period of play against Mumbai City FC but believes the tide of the game changed after Ogbeche converted the penalty to open the scoring for the Islanders.

“I thought the first 15-20 minutes both teams had the same equation. After the penalty, there was a mismatch between the teams. We had three or four chances and we needed to score off them to get some pressure on Mumbai, because at 2-0 there is not much pressure on Mumbai and they are a very technical team so they made it look like a mismatch,” said the Englishman after his team’s third defeat in four matches.

“We opened the game well but then we lost our momentum and our quality. Then the game got stretched out and when that happens, a team like Mumbai thrive. Throughout the game, the quality was not what it should be.”

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