The tactician also defended striker Balwant Singh and offered an explanation for the team’s patchy home form.
Mumbai City FC host FC Pune City in Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18’s second ‘Maha’ derby at the Mumbai Football Arena on Sunday. The Islanders come into this one having lost all three of their previous home fixtures and were edged 2 – 1 by Jamshedpur FC in the last match. They need a quick turnaround in fortunes by getting some wins in the bag if they wish to stay in contention for the playoffs.
Speaking to the media during the pre-match press conference was their head coach Alexandre Guimaraes and when asked if Mumbai were looking to overturn their poor home form, the Costa Rican replied, “Yes, of course. We know that we have a possibility to get a good result tomorrow. During the week, I have seen that the players understand that, and tomorrow is a good chance for us to continue to be in the race.”
Mumbai are currently in seventh spot and have 17 points from 13 games. Regarding his team’s performance so far, Guimaraes admitted that they needed to be more clinical when it came to taking chances. “The first thing you have to do is to win your own games,” he explained. “But of course, in our case we have to continue to do what we have been doing in terms of performance. We have been performing really well especially in the last two games, but you have to take your chances when you get them.”
He further added, “Tomorrow we have to play against a team which is also getting closer to its objective. We know that they will come here and play their game and put pressure on us. Probably we will have to be the one to take the initiative. We have had a good week of practice, and we are ready to give it our best.”
He also offered an explanation for his side’s patchy home form. “I think that we have created chances, but we have not been able to finish them well with the final shot or final pass,” the 58-year-old inferred. “In our away games, we have been on the other side of the coin at times and have scored the chances we created. But I hope that tomorrow we finish the chances we have, even if we don’t create too many of them.”
Balwant Singh has been Mumbai’s top scorer and although his form in front of goal has fluctuated, Guimaraes was quick to defend the 31-year-old. “I feel that he (Balwant) has been very productive for us so far,” he stated. “Sometimes all players have a bad night, and that is normal. But I know the players who have the right temperament, and he is one of them. He has been counting down the hours for the game to begin tomorrow.”
As far as Mumbai’s preparations for their local rivals Pune were concerned, Guimaraes revealed, “First of all, we have scheduled different situations in the practice sessions based on the rivals, especially for tomorrow’s game. We have plans to prevent what they do, and of course to penetrate the areas where they leave open spaces. The week has been very productive.”