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ISL- Indian Super League

ISL 2023-24 season review: Mumbai City FC

Published at :May 11, 2024 at 9:41 PM
Modified at :May 11, 2024 at 9:41 PM
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(Courtesy : ISL Media)

Atawaris Warsi


Mumbai City FC won their second ISL title this season.

What separates giant football clubs from mediocre ones? Well, it’s their ability to maintain momentum even after facing setbacks. The best example is Real Madrid this season; no matter whatever setbacks they faced, they bounced back each and every time and are very much on course to win their 15th Champions League title after clinching their 36th La Liga title earlier this month. They are the perfect match for the quote, “Improvise, Adapt, Overcome”.

But if you are an Indian football fan, you don’t need to look that far. The best example are the ISL giants, Mumbai City FC. And before rolling your eyes, just gaze through the achievements the Islanders have achieved season after season under the management of the City Football Group (CFG), especially winning the ISL Cup in the recently concluded season under head coach Petr Kratky.

But what’s more surprising is that this Mumbai City side had their share of struggles when they underwent major changes like the departure of former coach Des Buckingham, their Scottish midfield maestro Greg Stewart, defender Rostyn Griffiths, then the injury to Iker Guarrotxena. However, the resilience and determination shown by this team somewhat emulate what Real Madrid have done this season.

Fact Sheet for Mumbai City FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24

ISL 2023-24 season review: Mumbai City FC

Top Performers

Lallianzuala Chhangte 

Lallianzuala Chhangte was a driving force behind Mumbai City FC’s ISL Cup victory. His blistering pace and attacking prowess were a constant threat to opposing defences. The numbers speak for themselves: Chhangte racked up an impressive 10 goals and six assists throughout the season, directly contributing to 16 of Mumbai City’s goals. 

ISL 2023-24 season review: Mumbai City FC Lallianzuala Chhangte

But Chhangte’s influence went beyond goals and assists. He was a nightmare for defenders to handle, completing a staggering 167 successful dribbles and creating 179 chances for his teammates. His passing accuracy of 80% ensured smooth build-up play while his 23 passes per game showcased his ability to control the flow of the midfield.  Chhangte’s tireless work ethic was evident in his high number of touches (5816) and duels won (483), making him a complete attacking package that terrorised defences all season long.

Vikram Partap Singh

Head Coach Petr Kratky’s faith in young Vikram proved to be a masterstroke in Mumbai City FC’s ISL Cup triumph. Vikram, who won the Emerging player of 2023-24 award was entrusted with a vital role in the team’s attack and he repaid that trust tenfold. He wasn’t just a gifted player; his work ethic was phenomenal. Leading the team in touches and boasting a high successful dribble rate, Vikram constantly kept the opposition on edge.

ISL 2023-24 season review: Mumbai City FC Vikram Partap Singh

Kratky’s decision to unleash Vikram’s attacking prowess paid off with dividends. His vision and pinpoint passing (295 successful passes, 20 key passes) unlocked numerous scoring opportunities for his teammates. Vikram wasn’t afraid to take matters into his own hands either, evidenced by his high number of touches in the opponent’s box and shots on target. 

Phurba Lachenpa

Phurba Lachenpa was a dominant force in goal for his team this season, his contributions undeniable in their path to success. While the stats paint a clear picture of his brilliance – the Golden Glove award, a stellar save percentage, and a high number of clean sheets – Lachenpa, like any athlete, strives for continuous improvement.

ISL 2023-24 season review: Mumbai City FC Phurba Lachenpa

There’s more to goalkeeping than just raw numbers. Lachenpa’s command of his area, his ability to communicate effectively with his defenders, and his decision-making in high-pressure situations are all crucial aspects that contribute to his overall performance. While the stats showcase his shot-stopping prowess and distribution skills, there’s always room for refinement in these areas as well. Lachenpa himself acknowledges the importance of constant learning and growth. 

Under Performer

None

Mumbai City FC’s dominant run to the 2023-24 ISL title showcased their exceptional squad depth and tactical flexibility. Every player had a role to play, adapting to different situations throughout the season. While some players like Vikram, with his 12 goal contributions, grabbed more headlines, the collective effort was undeniable. 

While individual statistics can be a starting point for analysis, it’s important to remember that football is a team sport. Mumbai City FC clearly had a winning formula, and attributing underperformance to specific players would diminish the collective effort that led them to victory. Every player functioned within the coach’s strategy, contributing to the overall success.

Top Performances

1. Bengaluru FC 0-4 Mumbai City FC

2. Mumbai City FC 4-1 NorthEast United

3. Mohun Bagan 1-3 Mumbai City FC

Manager’s Report Card

Petr Kratky

Petr Kratky arrived at Mumbai City under unexpected circumstances. Head coach Des Buckingham’s departure in November left the reigning champions in a state of transition. Despite inheriting a squad struggling to find its early-season form, Kratky displayed remarkable composure. His ability to adapt quickly proved invaluable. 

Kratky maintained continuity by seamlessly transitioning into Buckingham’s 4-3-3 formation and possession-based philosophy. Mumbai City continued their attacking dominance, overwhelming opponents with wing play and precise passing. Defensively, Kratky prioritised a deep line and a congested box. This strategy delivered results, as Mumbai City boasted the league’s best defence, conceding only 19 goals throughout the regular season. 

He wasn’t afraid to make bold decisions. Despite key foreign player departures in January, he placed his trust in young Indian talent. His faith paid dividends. Lallianzuala Chhangte thrived under this trust, becoming the league’s top-scoring Indian player. Youngster Vikram Partap Singh also flourished, contributing significantly to the team’s success. These youngsters played a pivotal role in securing Mumbai City’s ISL Cup victory, further validating Kratky’s approach.

Lessons to be learned

Mumbai City FC’s ISL Cup win showcased their resilience and ability to adapt. Despite losing key players and a coaching change mid-season, they found success with a strong team performance and smart tactical changes by coach Kratky. However, there are lessons to be learned.

Firstly, complacency should be avoided. The departure of influential players like Rahul Bheke and Jorge Pereyra Diaz weakens the squad. Finding a strong leader to fill the captaincy void and a prolific goal scorer are crucial. The team must continue to develop young talents like Chhangte and Vikram, but also look for experienced reinforcements to maintain their fighting spirit and title-winning mentality.

Fan View

I have been a fan of Mumbai City FC since Diego Forlan joined the Islanders. I am a huge fan of his long rangers and his hairstyle. Talking about this season, I am very happy with how the team has developed under the management of CFG. The team has never disappointed us in the past few seasons, and this season was no exception. 

ISL 2023-24 season review: Mumbai City FC Karimullah Warsi
Karimullah Warsi

Although after the departure of Des Buckingham, I did feel that the team’s performance may falter, but the way Petr Kratky managed the team to the ISL Cup glory is truly commendable and deserves praise and utmost respect. 

This season was a blast, and I am very excited to see how the next season will be under Kratky. But for now, it’s celebration time for us.

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