Guimaraes looks to inch closer to semis with win at home..

Mumbai City FC will want to solidify their position in the top half of Hero Indian Super League 2016 when they host FC Pune City at the Mumbai Football Arena in the second Maharashtra derby of the season on Thursday.

The Mumbaikars currently have 15 points from nine matches and head into Thursday’s derby against Pune looking to do the double over the Stallions having secured a 1-0 away in their opening encounter of the season.

Speaking at the pre-match press conference ahead of their clash against Pune, Mumbai head coach Alexandre Guimaraes insisted that his side must keep winning if they are to achieve their objective of making the semis. “I think we have to continue to do what we have been doing. Well, I mean we took good points against very tough teams in away games and now it is time to play these final games at home [four home games out of five remaining], and we have got to maintain and continue winning at home, to get closer to our objective of being in the top 4,” he said.

He continued: “Tomorrow, we are going to play a derby and in a derby you never know what is going to happen. The other team, as we know, has had a change in their approach and they know that they cannot lose.”

When asked how many points he thought would be enough for a semis berth, Guimaraes said: “The only thing we think about is the next three points and then we will see all these possibilities of points. We cannot go too much into these possibilities of points right now.”

Matias Defederico’s 68th-minute strike turned out to be the winner when these two sides met in the first Maharashtra derby early last month. Guimaraes, however, stressed that the away victory earlier this season was now in the past and Pune will be a whole new proposition come kick-off tomorrow. “Look that was our first away game and we won, so that gave us good support but that is the past and things have changed, and they have new players and this is a very important game for us to get close to our objective,” he said.

The 57-year-old also welcomed the return of Chhuantea Fanai, Amrinder Singh, Udanta Singh and Sunil Chhetri, who scored seven goals for Mumbai last season, from the AFC Cup. “All of them trained yesterday and no one told me about being unable to play. So, it is up to me to see who is going to play and all of them are working hard without any complaints. Let’s see who plays tomorrow. They are really hungry to be part of the Mumbai City FC campaign,” Guimaraes said.

Report and Picture © ISL Media