Mumbai FC host Mohun Bagan in a crucial I-League encounter here on Wednesday after four matches on the road. Losing six matches in a row is an ominous sign for any club, especially in this I-League season when each team only has 18 matches to play. But Mumbai FC head coach Santosh Kashyap is confident his team will arrest the slide soon.
The home side will be without captain Steven Dias and winger Victorino Fernandes through injury. Also missing for the match are foreign internationals Densil Theobald of Trinidad and Anderson da Silva of Brazil.
Mohun Bagan have injury problems as well, the most concerning of which is star player Sony Norde, who is doubtful for the game. Head coach Sanjoy Sen said the Haitian was suffering from pain in his knee and would need tests on match day to determine if he was fit to play.
Kashyap termed the six-match losing streak the lengthiest he has suffered in his coaching career. Incidentally, five of the six defeats were away matches. Kashyap said he could have had his team sit back and defend in tough away ties but opted to stick by his attacking philosophy.
And now, with three home matches to be played in a row, Kashyap can sense the tide turning.
“We are in a bad phase. This game is very important for us and we will go all out for a win. We have three home games on the trot and will try to win all,” Kashyap told reporters in a press briefing ahead of the match against Mohun Bagan.
At the start of the season, when Kashyap was asked about the team’s objectives from this campaign, he said they were targeting a top-3 finish. On Tuesday, despite already losing one-third of their matches, Kashyap believes Mumbai FC can still achieve that goal.
“I have become a better coach (having come through the tough losing streak),” Kashyap said. “In a bid to achieve an extraordinary target (of third position), setbacks do happen,” he continued.
Mumbai FC are currently placed eighth in the I-League table. They have six points from opening wins against DSK Shivajians and Churchill Brothers, after which they recorded six-straight losses.
Their opponents, Mohun Bagan, are second in the table with 17 points from five wins and two draws. Mohun Bagan and Kolkata rivals East Bengal remain the only undefeated sides in the league.