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Jorge Costa believes Kerala will be tough opposition, David James understands Kerala fans' frustration

Written by: Shivam Tiwari

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The two teams have enjoyed contrasting campaigns so far.

Since the two teams last met, Mumbai has been on a winning run, and Kerala Blasters have been on a winless run. The team from Kerala has dropped far too many points and consequently, has lost the faith of the fans. After the negligence from the fans, and a poor string of results both home and away, David James and his side seeks redemption against Mumbai City FC.

Mumbai, on the other hand, is on cloud nine, given the fact that they held Bengaluru FC at their own backyard with just ten men on the field. Both the team's coaches are looking forward to the game, with one aiming to bounce back and the other looking to end the year on a high note before going for the much-deserved break.

The two coaches, before the game, met the media and below are what they had to say.

Coach's Corner

Jorge Costa (Mumbai City FC)

Jorge Costa knows that the fact that Kerala Blasters' game is the last and after that the players will go on vacations, can leave his side to lose their focus and allow the visitors to get their much-awaited win.

"We know what we must do tomorrow. In my opinion, it will be the most difficult game, and I can explain why. We are playing against a team that has nothing to lose in a difficult moment because it's the last game of the year. After this game, the players will have a small break, they will go home. So we must be focused."

When questioned what the biggest strength of his side has been throughout this run, Costa replied, "We are playing as a team. Nothing special, just doing our jobs in the game, and in the training. And if you have quality and work seriously, you can have success"

Costa wasn't happy about the character that Mumbai City FC displayed on the field against Bengaluru FC, but overall he feels his team has worked well. "I think the character was not only in the last game (vs Bengaluru FC), but like always I say, we are always doing well and I am not 100% happy. We have many things to improve. We are far from being perfect and I am sure that we would never be. But we have to work hard every day to be better than the previous day."

David James (Kerala Blasters)

There is a lot of pressure and David James keeps believing that his side still has a chance to make it to the playoffs if they reach the magical number of 30.

"Not winning is difficult for the team. I don't think we deserve to be on a ten-match not winning run. It puts a lot of pressure. We still are mathematically in the run, and we believe so that we still can do it. We still can get 30 points and we hope that it will be enough to qualify for the play-off. There will be an added pressure now since we have to go and win now, rather sneak out a draw," David James said.

Times are tough for the Kerala Blasters and there have been far too few reasons to be happy and cherish. But the provisional squad for the AFC Asian Cup has brought smiles back into the dressing room of the Men in Yellow.

"I think the first thing is the scoring because we lost 1-0. As far as confidence is concerned, after knowing the provisional squad for the AFC Asian Cup, we have as many as five players of the squad. So that has boosted the confidence of the team. I think there's a bit of faith from Constantine. He believes in our players. Five players representing the country from Kerala Blasters makes me a proud coach. I hope they do very well while playing for India."

Reflecting on the game that the two sides played earlier this season, David James said, "In the first game, I think Arnold was playing his first match. The player has gone to be fitter. We were in the position where we were three minutes away from three points and fortune struck their way and they had a wonder strike in the end. That shot made Mumbai the better side and it didn't help our cause."

The Kerala Blasters fans have not been happy at all and are frustrated to see their team go winless for over 12 months at their home stadium. The fans demand changes for which they have started boycotting the games. "I think individuals and fans would do what they want to do. It's not on me to tell them not to do. I think if your team has at the moment won only one game at home in the last 12 months, I can understand that frustration."


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Team News

Mumbai City FC

Sehnaj will have to miss the game because of the suspension he received against Bengaluru FC.

Kerala Blasters

Kzito is out injured, and the availability of Pekuson is unsure after the midfielder limped off the field in the game against FC Pune City.

Probable Lineups

Mumbai City FC

Amrinder (GK), Goian, Souvik, Joyner, Subhasish, Machado, Raynier, Rafique, Bastos, Sougou, Arnold.

Kerala Blasters

Dheeraj (GK), Sandesh, Anas, Lakic, Cyril, Zakeer, Prasanth, Doungel, Sahal, Holicharan, Slavisa.

Did You Know?

  • Mumbai and Kerala have beaten each other twice in the overall head to head battle.
  • The last time Kerala played in Mumbai, they had a controversial win after Ian Hume scored from a set-piece taken even when Amrinder Singh and his defence line were not prepared to face it.
  • Mumbai has the second best defence of the league, allowing only 11 goals.

Broadcast

The match will take place on Friday at 7:30 PM at Mumbai Football Arena in Mumbai. On television, the match will be live on Star Sports. Meanwhile, it will also be streamed on Hotstar and Jio TV.

Published: Sat Dec 15, 2018 08:51 PM IST

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