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We have to play a smart game-Guimaraes

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The Mumbai boss wants his team to play with more intensity...

Mumbai City FC head into the second leg of the first semi-final of Hero Indian Super League 2016 against Atlético de Kolkata, at the Mumbai Football Arena on Tuesday, trailing to 2014 champions 3-2 on aggregate. The hosts require a win by a two-goal margin to overturn the first leg deficit and secure qualification to the final. A win by a one-goal margin for the hosts will see the game go to extra time and beyond if needed, while ATK just need to avoid defeat to make their second final in three years.

Reflecting on his side’s first leg defeat, Mumbai head coach Alexandre Guimaraes opined that it was a lack of intensity from his players that gave Kolkata the upper-hand in the tie. “We have some things to resolve and firstly it is about intensity and I have been talking to players that these kinds of games have to be played with different intensity, not just physical but also mental and we also have to solve the absence of Diego,” Guimaraes told reporters at the pre-match press conference.

The Costa Rican, however, believes that his team will fight to make the final and are in with a good chance of turning things around at home on Tuesday. “The players are excited to play in front of our fans and I hope we have the stadium filled to capacity tomorrow to push our players and we know that we have to play very smart. The situation is not desperate for us because it is only one goal [deficit], so we have to play better than the last game and I still believe that we are alive and we have our chance and we will fight hard to get to the final,” Guimaraes said.

Mumbai will have to beat Kolkata without the services of marquee player Diego Forlan, who is suspended for the game after being shown a red card in the first leg. Guimaraes explained how his team plans on coping with the absence of their Uruguayan talisman, given that Mumbai have failed to register a win in all three matches that Forlan has not featured this season. “You know you don’t have to motivate the players too much as the players know that tomorrow is a final and that we have to win.

Everyone is excited and the one who will play in his spot, he will do his best to help us to get through and for now it is difficult for me to predict if we will suffer in his absence. Some games where he did not play like the game against ATK here, we performed well and now he is waiting that we can go through to the final,” he said.When asked how important set-pieces will be since both of Mumbai’s goals came from free-kicks in Kolkata, Guimaraes said: “I don’t know if it is their weakness and you have to be very good in these kinds of situations and because of those two goals we are alive and I am very happy about that.”

The 57-year-old also admitted that his side must be more wary of ATK’s wing-play after Jose Molina’s men dominated in the wide areas in the first leg. “Yes, they play very well on the sides, especially when they counter-attacked us and this is something to which we have to pay much more attention,” Guimaraes said.

Elaborating on how his side will have to keep it tight at the back despite chasing the game, Guimaraes said: “The balance will be very important and we know that we will attack more than them and like I said, we cannot be suicidal and we will have to go forward and be well positioned in midfield and the back and not make any errors like we did in the last game.”

Guimaraes also issued a rallying cry to Mumbai supporters ahead of tomorrow’s crunch tie, calling for the fans to pack the stadium to its capacity. “It is better to have a full stadium than playing in a big stadium where you have ten thousand people, it looks like a desert and the players and I would like to see the stadium packed half an hour before the match. It would be nice to see that,” he said.

Report and Photo Courtesy: ISL Media

Published: Mon Dec 12, 2016 09:34 PM IST

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