Plenty of debuts are in line when Mumbai City FC take on Jamshedpur FC today in our opening game of the 2018-19 Hero ISL season. One of them will be that of our new head coach, Jorge Costa, who will take charge in his first ever competitive game for the Islanders.
The boss was in action yesterday as he faced the media ahead of today’s big game. Here’s what he had to say..
On team news for the game against Jamshedpur FC:
JC: We are excited and ready to start and we’re counting down to the kick-off. The only thing I’m going to ask my players to do is to play freely, without any kind of pressure. It’s important that we play good football tomorrow and we will fight for the three points.
As far as team news is concerned, we have two injuries. One of them has a 50% chance of featuring and one definitely cannot play tomorrow.
On MCFC’s previous season and what he will bring to the table:
JC: We started training together about 45 days ago. We have 45 days of work that has gone in. Yesterday, I was speaking to my players and they feel that they are ready. Yes, it’s true that we finished 7th last season, but a lot has changed since. The staff has changed, the players have changed and the expectations have changed too. All of us are working towards our first target that is to finish in the top 4. If we achieve that, we will take it from there.
On the two games of the ISL so far:
JC: Before I came here, unfortunately in Portugal, the ISL is not broadcasted. After I started conversations with Mumbai City FC, I started to watch a few games then. And for me, it was a positive surprise in terms of the quality of football played in India, especially by the local players.
When I arrived in Mumbai and when we started work on the training ground, I was very happy with the quality of players that we’ve recruited. It’s not just their quality, the way they work and want to improve, and it’s really impressive.
And as far as the two games (ATK v KBFC BFC v CFC) are concerned, I watched them on the TV. The level of football was very high.
On Tim Cahill and Subrata Paul missing out for Jamshedpur FC:
JC: To be honest, I can’t say it’s an advantage because I don’t have a lot of information about them. They have a new coach, they have new players, so we don’t know yet what to expect from them. That being said, Cahill is one player everyone knows. He has a lot of experience. And honestly, it would have been good if he had played. I am not that kind of a coach who would want the oppositions players to miss out or not play. For me, the only thing that matters is working in my own house and seeing what we can do better every time we play. And I hope that tomorrow we can have a good game.
On his expectations from the players ahead of the first game:
JC: I’ve told them to be serious, to be honest. I’ve asked them to play without any pressure, because our players have some really good qualities. And the most important, I expect them to fight. For the 93 or 94 minutes that we’ll be there on the pitch, they will fight from the first second to the last.
On MCFC’s goal-scoring woes from last season:
JC: Like I’ve said before, it’s unfair for me to speak of things that happened last year. That was a different reality. I wasn’t here, so it would not be correct for me to speak about someone else’s work.
So far, we’ve played 7 friendly games in our pre-season and we are scoring a lot of goals. Yes, the opposition was of a different level. But if we’re scoring a lot of goals with teams that are probably one level below ours, I am happy. We’ll wait and see what happens tomorrow and I hope I can sit here tomorrow and be happy of our performance.