The Islanders are currently on their biggest winning streak in their history.
Mumbai continue their unbeaten run towards the top of the table with a victory against defending champions Chennaiyin FC, 2-0, courtesy of goals from Raynier Fernandes and Modou Sougou. The win pushes them on to second position in the table, just three points behind their next opponents, Bengaluru FC. For Chennaiyin FC, it was yet another horrific outing which the team wouldn’t want to remember.
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Watch: Mumbai 2-0 Chennaiyin, Goals and Highlights
The coaches of the two teams met the media for the post-match press conference.
Chennaiyin FC coach John Gregory rued the chances his players missed despite having a lion’s share in the possession. He said, “We had a huge amount of possession, and we lost too many chances. We didn’t take them. This is the story of the whole season. We dominate matches. I haven’t seen the statistics yet, but I can say that we had a huge amount of possession, more passes than the opposition but we haven’t scored goals. We lost chance after chance after chance.”
When asked about the exclusion of Indian international Jeje Lalpekhlua from the starting line-up, Gregory opined, “You will always bring up somebody who is not playing if we don’t win; that’s the normal journalistic approach. You bring up something – he wasn’t playing, he didn’t start the game. Consequently, I chose Carlito Salom to play as the main striker and he worked tirelessly today. I think he was a problem for the Mumbai defence. But he hasn’t scored, and that’s what he is in the team to do. He had one or two chances, but he didn’t score. If Jeje had been scoring regularly, he would have been in the starting lineup.”
John doesn’t like the schedule his team was handed and he was very critical of it. He seconded Eelco’s words about the poor scheduling. “Now we had four games in 12 days. It is such a demanding schedule, it’s a ridiculous schedule to expect us to play at such a high level over the course of those 12 days. That side of it, we had thrown last year, we managed to deal with it probably better. In the month of February, we had 5 matches in 17 days, and we came through okay. This year, we haven’t come through well this little segment of matches. I echo the Eelco’s (NorthEast United coach) comments about the schedule they have faced and the schedule that Delhi Dynamos have faced. It’s not been easy for us, but there are no excuses in football.”
Sanjiban Ghosh was one of the villains of the loss as he couldn’t save a loose shot from Raynier from outside the box for the first goal of Mumbai. Gregory gave his opinion on it, “Yes, 100%. I didn’t expect him to get beaten from that distance in all honesty. You know, I will protect my players always, I will protect them till hell. And if anyone criticises, I will stand up even more and protect them. But I didn’t expect him to get beaten from that distance.”
Jorge Costa is very proud of how his players have played so far. They are on their biggest winning streak of all time. He said, “It was a good game, not so well played. Also, I must say that I don’t like the way the grass of the stadium is right now. It is not good for the players. We did what we do always. The players from the first minute of the season are doing an amazing job. They are doing everything that I ask them to do. We are helping each other, fighting for the team for one cause. So I am very proud of the team. I am happy with all the invisible work we do.”
Mumbai plays Bengaluru in three days, in what would be the top of the table clash. When asked about the highly anticipated Bengaluru FC game he said, “Firstly we need to ensure we are there at the right time because it’s not easy to play 3 games in 6 days. This is not an excuse though while playing against one of the best teams in the league. Until they didn’t lose at home, they didn’t lose away. So you can imagine it is a difficult game for us. The game is in three days until then I have a lot of jobs to do.”
Raynier Fernandes limped off the pitch after getting injured. Jorge Costa thinks it’s a problem of the knee. “I think it’s something with the knee, but we must wait for the medical staff to see. Hope that it’s nothing serious, that’s the only thing I can say right now.”
Raynier has been on a fine form, scoring two goals in two games. But Jorge wants to see his team overall, and doesn’t want to talk much about individual players. “The last game we won 4-2 and this game we won 2-0 (laughs). I don’t like to talk about players individually. The team is doing a wonderful job and it is not right to say that A is doing a good job then B. We are a team and that’s how I like to see. When we win, we all win. When we lose, we… we won’t lose (laughs).”