Jorge Costa: I believed Pranjal could go on and score
After 92 minutes of singing their hearts out for the team, it took only a couple of seconds to silence a crowd of nearly 32 thousand. Pranjal Bhumij, a late substitute in last night’s well-contested encounter against Kerala Blasters, smashed a thunderbolt of a shot from almost 40 yards out to snatch a point from the game.
Registering the first goal and the first point under his reign, a relieved yet hopeful Jorge Costa spoke to the media in Kochi last night.
On the difference between the first game and the second
JC: Today, it was a difficult setting to play in, against a very good time. And we can’t overlook the fact that we had just 48 hours, and lesser time than our opponents to prepare. Much like the first game, we played better in the second half. We had plenty of chances and we believed that with just one good chance, Mumbai City can be back in the game.
Today, we took some risks. Sometimes you’re a little lucky and you score in the final minutes or you concede like we did against Jamshedpur. I say only a little lucky because that was a magnificent goal (by Pranjal). I am happy with the point and the players, because throughout the 90 minutes, they have put in a strong performance.
On the impact of Pranjal
JC: In my first press conference after arriving in Mumbai, I was asked about the foreigners and the Indians. They can be from any country in the world. They can be 40 years old or in this case, 19. They’re all the same for me and I have faith in each one of them. It is my job to see how I can use them in the best possible way. I work with each one of them every day so I know what they can bring to the pitch.
In Pranjal’s case, I know his potential. He’s young and he’s confident. And I asked myself before I sent him on whether he can score and I believed he could. But it’s not just him. Same is the case with Matias and Sanju too. If I’m making a change, it’s to improve the team.
On the changes to the lineup
JC: Our pre-season training in terms of performances, for me, was good but wasn’t perfect. Even in our first game, the opposition surprised us a little. Also, we cannot forget the fact that we played just 3 days ago and made the journey to Kochi. So there were bound to be some tired legs and tired minds.
I have 23 out of 25 players available to me right now and I believe in each one of them. So maybe in the next game, I might change again. Also, if someone does well in the week during training, there are higher chances of him doing the same in the game. That’s how I work.
On the two-week break coming up
JC: After our first game, I said I wanted to play as soon as possible, because when you lose you want to get back onto the pitch quickly. And now that we have this break, I think it will be important for us. Mumbai City FC was the last team that started its pre-season training. So naturally, we have had the least amount of time to prepare together as a team. Now we have 14 days to our next game, so that gives a chance to improve and do better in our next game.
On the Kerala crowd
JC: For me, it’s much better to be in a stadium with 31 thousand loud fans than to play in big but empty stadiums. And the people here are really nice. They came here to watch a game of football. Maybe they’ll go home tonight a little disappointed. But I appreciate fans like these. For me, this what football is all about.