The Mumbai boss has emphasized that his team has to keep the winning momentum going against Chennaiyin…

Mumbai City FC head coach Alexandre Guimaraes doesn’t want his players to rest till they achieve their target of qualifying for the semis for the first time in the Hero Indian Super League. The Mumbaikars presently top the table with 19 points from 12 games and appear to be on course for the semis. They now play host to defending champions Chennaiyin FC at the Mumbai Football Arena on Wednesday.

“We are on the way. We know that the first goal of any organisation is to understand the players. From the beginning, we have been talking to the players about things and it’s good to have so many points with two games still remaining [in the league stage]. Whether nineteen points are good enough or not, we will try to gain more points from the last two games and that’s our objective for tomorrow’s match,” Guimaraes told reporters ahead of the game.

“First thing that comes to my mind is that we have to play better than we have played so far to try to win the game tomorrow and put ourselves in a good position but we saw Chennaiyin’s game against Kolkata and we know that they are still in the race and they are very tough. They are champions and the champions always like to fight till the end, and that’s the kind of game I’m expecting tomorrow.”

When asked if he was expecting the Super Machans to go all out tomorrow seeking a win following a 1-1 draw against them earlier in the season, Guimaraes said: “I think they have already showed their different approach of offensive game against Kolkata and they have good players, strong players up front, so we have to maintain our concentration defensively like we have throughout the season and we can expect a much more open game than the one we played against them at Chennai.”

Mumbai are going into this match high on confidence stemming from their 5-0 thumping win against Kerala Blasters FC in their last match. However, it’s not just their forward-line that has done its job to a tee, they have been solid defensively too, and for that they have Lucian Goian to thank. Guimaraes was effusive in praise of the Romanian defender. “I’m glad he has been playing very well, I know he is a very nice player because he was there with me in China when I used to work there, so that’s why I recommended him to the club. His commitment to the team is fantastic, his leadership with the local guys at the defence is also great and he is helping the local guys and showing them how to play. This is one of the aims that we have when we bring such kind of players to a new league, all the younger footballers watch and learn which is really good,” he said.

Replying to a question if Mumbai had found the right combination following their big win against Kerala, the 57-year-old Costa Rican said: “I think we played the right way in the right game because we needed to. The difference was that we converted more in the last game than we did in others. We have created many chances before but didn’t manage to score like we did in the last game, but what really pleases me is that the team showed a very solid and collective work of defence and that is very important.”

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