The Mumbai manager said it is important his team convert their chances against Blasters…
Mumbai City FC will be looking to inch closer to a semis berth when they host Kerala Blasters FC at the Mumbai Football Arena on Saturday. The hosts are currently second in the 2016 Hero Indian Super League standings and hold a point advantage over the Blasters heading into Saturday’s encounter. Mumbai will also be looking to avoid their second loss of the season to Kerala, who enter the contest on the back of successive wins that propelled them to the top half of league table.
The Mumbaikars also head into the clash with just one win at home this season besides two losses and one draw. However, head coach Alexandre Guimaraes believes that the results in their home matches are not a proper reflection of their performances. “I think the only game we didn’t play well among all these games we’ve played so far was when we lost to Kerala Blasters away. That was the only game we didn’t play at the level we can play. Here also in Mumbai we played well, we just didn’t get points,” Guimaraes said.
He added: “We also have had some injuries. We lost because we made big errors and it’s not because we didn’t create chances, so these are not the games where we didn’t play well. Now that it all has come close we have to reduce as many errors as possible because we will get enough chances. I know we will.”
Guimaraes’ men have managed just one goal in their last three games and a total of nine in their 11 matches so far. The former Costa Rica manager didn’t seem too concerned with his side’s lack of goals though and believes it is just a matter of time before his team finds the back of the net on a more regular basis. “I think sometimes in football you have to have confidence in your players. We have very high top quality players in all the departments and of course up front I think they are all ISL-recognised players, so sometimes it’s just a matter of patience. The main thing about those players is that they have chances and I know sooner or later they will convert more than what they have done so far,” he said.
“I hope tomorrow can be the day. We’re going to play against a team who we think has the best defence in the league, so we may not have that many chances that we have had in other games, maybe tomorrow we’re going to have fewer chances but hopefully we will convert better.”
When asked if his side have devised any special plans to contain Kerala’s CK Vineeth, who has scored thrice in his last two games, Guimaraes said: “Firstly, I have to see if his coach puts him in from the beginning because he is like their coach’s amulet… Of course, he has been a key player for them, and irrespective of whether he plays 90 minutes or less, I’m sure we have to continue the way we have been playing defensively. We have to pay attention to every player, so let’s see what happens tomorrow.”
Gerson Vieira, who has made nine appearances for Mumbai this season, also accompanied Guimaraes to the press conference. Commenting on his role in his team’s commendable defensive record that has seen them concede just eight goals all season and keep three clean sheets in their last five games, Vieira said: “I think I’m doing my best to do what our head coach is asking us to do and everyone is important, so I think that when you add my contribution and the team’s contribution together we build a strong defence and a strong team.”