Mumbai City FC pin hope on Costa’s touch in Indian Super League

Mumbai City, who boasted of the finest defensive record in ISL 2 conceding just eight times, slumped to a seventh place finish after shipping in 29 goals last term.
File picture of Lucian Goian(Action Plus via Getty Images)
File picture of Lucian Goian(Action Plus via Getty Images)
Updated on Sep 25, 2018 12:00 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Mumbai | BySarthak Bal

Looking to better their semi-final run in the 2016 Indian Super League (ISL) and bring the title to the maximum city, Mumbai City FC brought on FC Porto’s UEFA Champions League winning captain Jorge Costa to take charge of the troops.

Costa, while admitting that his team are ‘far from perfect’ at the moment, is confident of guiding Mumbai City to glory.

“My life is football. I like challenges and this is a very good one for me,” said Costa, who led Porto to European supremacy in 2003/04 under the guidance of Jose Mourinho, on Monday. “One day when I go back home, people should remember me as someone who is honest, hard-working and made a difference here. I am not here to just go back after three-four months without leaving a mark. I want to be remembered for something good.”

“We had a good pre-season, winning three of the four games (in Thailand) and one draw. But we are far from perfection and have a lot of work to do,” said the former Portugal international.

Mumbai City, who boasted of the finest defensive record in ISL 2 conceding just eight times, slumped to a seventh place finish after shipping in 29 goals last term.

Costa feels that this will be a new start for the team and that their first aim is to finish in the top-four.

“This is a new season, a new coach, some new players and we will start from the beginning. Of course we must learn from our past mistakes but the most important thing is to understand the way forward,” said the former Gabon manager.

“We have to finish in the top-four at least. All the others (other coaches) they have the same expectation -- to finish in the first four. I do too. I don’t know whether we can do it or not, but we will fight in every game for the three points and try to finish in the first four.”

Costa has the backing of Mumbai City custodian Amrinder Singh, who said the unit is like a family and that the togetherness could be the missing ingredient.

“This year the coach has kept us together like a family. In football, this is very important. I am happy that every member of the team is looking after each other. Last time maybe this was missing,” said Amrinder.

Mumbai City captain and central defender Lucian Goian admitted that the team lacked desire last season last season but is confident of fruitful campaign ahead.

“I do not know what went wrong but something was missing. Maybe the group wasn’t so strong. We had good quality players and in certain moments perhaps, we were a little unlucky. Maybe with a little more attitude in some games, we could have maybe achieved a little more,” said the Romanian.

“We had a good pre-season with the new players adapting very quickly. We are a new team, but we are a good family and I hope to be ready for the first game against Jamshedpur. It is time to bring the trophy to Mumbai. This is our and our fans’ dream.”

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