Mumbai City FC head coach Petr Kratky urged his side to maintain full focus when they face Chennaiyin FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai on Friday.

Mumbai City FC have been displaying an impressive performance in their recent matches, clinching victories in their last two games and making significant strides up the points table. Currently holding the third position, the team has amassed 28 points from 14 matches, demonstrating a strong determination to secure the League Shield.

In contrast, Chennaiyin FC are entering the upcoming match with newfound confidence after a recent triumph against Kerala Blasters FC. Positioned at the ninth spot in the league table, the Marina Machans have gathered 15 points from 14 games, with four wins and three draws.

In their previous encounter in the ISL, Mumbai City FC dominated and secured a convincing three-goal victory over Chennaiyin FC. As the two teams prepare to face each other again, Kratky, the head coach, shared insights into their game plan and strategies for the upcoming challenge.

"It will be a very difficult game, we will have to be switched on from the very first minute. Chennaniyin FC are a very good team, the team has quality, coach is good, so they will try to win the game, they are home so will be a difficult game for us but we need to approach the game like every other game. Start well and just keep going until the last whistle. Looking forward to the game. Again, never been there so looking forward to their environment as well." Kratky said in the pre-match press conference.

Mumbai City FC have faced a challenge in the absence of Jorge Diaz, their leading goalscorer of the season, who served a suspension in the last three league games. Despite his pivotal role, the team managed to secure victories in those matches and they would like to continue the same against Chennaiyin FC.

Kratky highlighted the team's ability to adapt and succeed even in the absence of key players and emphasised the importance of healthy competition within the squad, citing it as a significant motivator.

"They are all very good players. Competition in the team is very healthy, it just boosts the energy of the team and everyone what's to play and everyone wants to perform, which is very good. The good competition in the team is always good. Diaz is a very good player but we also have other ones who can step in and do the job. I am very happy with the whole squad and looking forward for them to perform."

Mumbai City FC have proven to be a resilient team in recent matches, demonstrating a solid defensive performance. While they conceded three goals in their last two games, it's noteworthy that they secured two clean sheets in their previous two matches. The team's ability to shut out their opponents in the previous two games reflects their defensive strength and organisation.

When asked for his opinion on who was responsible for achieving three clean sheets in their last four league matches, the coach explained: "I think it's a collective effort, we always spoke about how everyone defends and everyone attacks as a team. It's not just about the back four or midfielders but it's the whole team and they are doing very well in that. That shows in the clean sheets and how we defend, including Akash (Mishra) in it. Again, always for us, it's a team effort, we try to do as much as we can together everything. This is the key for us."

We are trying to work together as a team: Akash Mishra

Indian football team defender Mishra, who joined Mumbai City FC this summer, has made a significant impact during the current season and emerged as a key player for the Islanders in the defensive lineup. Impressively, the team has not experienced a defeat in any game where Mishra has been a starter. The 22-year-old expressed his opinion regarding the playing style of their newly appointed head coach.

"As the coach said, we all attack together and we all defend together. I think that's the most important thing for us. We are trying to work on that, we are trying to work together as a team and that's the most important thing, As he said. Defending for me, if we keep a clean sheet, we have full confidence in our attack that they will score for sure, they will create chances. That is the most important thing for us to keep safe in the back end and we will try to score," Mishra stated in the pre-match press conference.

The full-back opened up about the challenges he has faced, including dealing with injuries and suspensions that led to him missing several games this season. Despite encountering obstacles, he emphasised the importance of staying focused.

"Of course, there are lots of moments when you don't play well or when you are injured or you're not able to perform all those things. I think you have to be mentally strong and the people around you, also play an important role, the teammates, and the coaching staff. Of course, they help you, they motivate you, they boost your confidence. So I think the surroundings are also very important for an athlete."