Guimaraes: Boys have progressed since the initial games


Ahead of tomorrow’s encounter against Kerala Blasters FC, Alexandre Guimaraes was relishing the prospect of facing Kerala Blasters and is hopeful of a confident second half of the league stage.

Here’s what the gaffer had to say as he faced the media in the pre-match press conference earlier today.

On the season so far and facing Kerala Blasters..

I think that our first goal of the ISL 2017-18 has been accomplished in terms of finishing the first half of the tournament in or close to the top 4 spots. That puts us in a good situation to continue to compete in the way we are doing right now. We are hoping that in the second half of the tournament, starting with these back-to-back home games (against Kerala Blasters and Bengaluru FC), we can get closer to our final objective of finishing in the top 4.

Tomorrow, we play the first of the three remaining games this month against Kerala Blasters who are coming off the back of a very important away win. It’s a warning for us that we do not give them any chances to get close to a win tomorrow. We hope that tomorrow again our stadium is full with our amazing fans. We need them here to encourage our boys to play at their maximum.

On the Mumbai City’s chances of qualification..

I think that we have been playing well & I am very confident about finishing in the top 4 spots on the table. We have the resources & the players to fight & qualify for the semifinals.

On how the Mumbai City squad has progressed since the reverse fixture..

Incidentally, this is something I was thinking about earlier today. I was curious to see the game that we played against Kerala in December & how we developed as a team after that encounter. We have improved and progressed from the initial games & I am pretty sure that tomorrow we will have a good game. We need to have a solid run of performances. Kerala Blasters have a very good defensive line, it will be a challenge to break it down.

On how Kerala Blasters have progressed since the previous encounter..

When a new coach comes in, the shape of the team changes. From the starting 11 players to the bench players, there is an opportunity for everyone out there, they also have a new player that has joined recently and is in good form. Moreover, it’s not easy to win an away game in the ISL & Kerala Blasters are coming here after a solid win in Delhi. They are going to come with plenty of positives but we’re confident of our chances tomorrow.

On KBFC’s vulnerability in this transition phase..

I don’t think they are particularly vulnerable, because with the new coach (David James) they have drawn one game and won one game. When a change brings positive outcomes, the confidence grows & transitions are easier.

On the refereeing in the ISL..

To be honest, I have nothing to say as they have been fairly good in our recent games.

On the plans for the second half of the season..

We have to make the most of this month. We’ve had a long break after our previous game and we will have another long break of about 9 days after our game on the 18th of January. This allows us to prepare better. We know we won’t be able to enjoy that luxury in February and we’re focusing on laying the groundwork for the rest of the season now.

On the fitness of Raju Gaikwad..

Raju will face a late fitness test tomorrow to determine whether he can participate in tomorrow’s game or not.

On the fitness of Aiborlang Khongjee..

Aibor is slowly coming back to fitness. He has started to do some work on the pitch this week but he still has a few weeks of preparation ahead of him before he gets in good shape. We will see if he can help us in the final stretch of the league.

On Mumbai City’s plans in the January transfer window..

There will be no activity from Mumbai City’s end.

On Iain Hume and Kerala Blasters’ attacking prowess..

Iain Hume is a fantastic player and a goalscorer. It’s not new for him everybody in the league knows how good a player he is. He will most definitely be a threat.