Lobera urges his players to enjoy themselves in second leg of semi-final against FC Goa
Mumbai City FC will look to secure a place in the final of the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) for the first time in the club’s history when they take on FC Goa in the second leg of Semi-final 1 at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Monday. Confidence is high in the Islanders’ camp ahead of their crucial tie and their head coach Sergio Lobera wants his players to enjoy themselves on the pitch instead of feeling any extra pressure.
“We are very excited and very lucky to play these kinds of games. The attitude of my players during the game, the sacrifice of the team and the hard work has been 100%. We only need to improve small things speaking in terms of football, but I don't feel the pressure because we are very happy with the system we are playing and we want to enjoy the semi-finals," Lobera said at the pre-match press conference.
The Islanders held FC Goa to a 2-2 draw in the first leg and Lobera wants his players to improve on some aspects of their game ahead of the second leg. “I am not happy because there are two things that were important for me in the last game. First, we had more chances to score more goals, and the second one, I think the game was very open. We didn't have control of the game during some periods, and we gave them the opportunity to play between the lines and spaces and we need to improve this,” he said.
The Spaniard then heaped praise on Mumbai City FC’s towering defender Mourtada Fall, who scored his fourth goal of the season in the first leg to earn his side a draw. “He has scored plenty of goals as a defender. Mourtada Fall is a very good player, a very good professional and he is an important player for us. But the most important thing is the team. If you are playing as a team, it's possible to shine as an individual,” Lobera said.
Lobera was joined at the press conference by Mumbai City FC’s skipper Amrinder Singh, who stressed the importance of sticking to their preferred style of play to get the desired result. “It is not a big problem that we are conceding first. The main thing is that after we concede we put in a lot of effort. Whenever we have conceded first, we come back well. It is an important match for both teams because it is the second [leg of the] semi-final. So, I feel that if we stick to our playing style, it will be better for us,” he said.
“Both teams play a similar style, so the most important thing is to stay loyal to our playing style. The confidence of the team is high because we did well to come back [in the first leg]. If we score first, it will be good for our team. The whole team is fit and focused during the training sessions,” the goalkeeper added.