The Mumbai manager was happy after his team qualified for the playoffs…

Mumbai City FC became the first team to enter the semi-finals of Hero Indian Super League 2016 after beating Chennaiyin FC 2-0 at the Mumbai Football Arena on Wednesday evening. Matias Defederico opened the scoring in the 32nd minute and Krisztian Vadocz added a second on the hour mark to solidify Mumbai’s position at the summit of the table with 22 points and a game still in hand.

Reflecting on his side’s maiden semis appearance, head coach Alexandre Guimaraes expressed his delight in achieving the target set by him at start of the season. “We have time to think about it. We still have to play our last game. It is good for us to be in this position now. Now we have 10 games to analyse other teams that have a real possibility to qualify. We also have to see in what position we finish because that will decide when we play at home. So, there are a lot of things to analyse till the end of the league stage. Now is the time to congratulate the players, the entire organisation, and all the work that we did from the beginning. They reached the goal that was targeted by the organisation. We are very pleased,” Guimaraes told reporters at the post-match press conference.

The Costa Rican also revealed he will now give his side’s fringe players more game-time ahead of the semi-finals. “Firstly, we have a break of 10 days, we played three games in one week, so we need to get some time to rest and recover. After this rest, I will have a chat with some of the players and my staff and decide what we have to do for the game against Delhi Dynamos FC [on December 3]. Also, there are some players I need to make sure get some minutes to play. They all are watching. There are two players who still haven’t played, so we will see,” he said.

Commenting on if he the 10-day break may have a negative effect on their momentum given Mumbai have netted seven times in their last two wins at home, Guimaraes said: “No, I don’t think so. Sometimes you lose this state of mind or the spirit when you are away. But we live all together in the same place, communicating all the time. So, it’s not possible that we will lose this momentum. As I said before we still have one more game to play. We qualified with one game in hand so we are better than the last year. We are a better team in defence. We have another game where we didn’t concede. We have players that are getting better by the day. So, we are very optimistic about what’s next. We know what we have done is not easy and what we have to look for and to fight for is going to be much harder.”

Guimaraes also shed light on Sunil Chhetri’s injury status after the forward was seen limping off the pitch having been replaced late on. “Just a little bit pain. He got a kick while taking that shot. He is a warrior, so he will be ready for the next game. He is working very hard. From the first day he arrived here, he is ever willing to help the team and he is doing great,” he said.

Defensive mainstay Lucian Goian also accompanied Guimaraes to the press conference. When asked if he was happy with Mumbai’s defensive solidity that has seen them concede the fewest goals this season (8), Goian said: “I am happy we had a great game, not only in defence. It’s not only about me, we defend as a team and attack as a team. Everybody is doing a good job and we have to be proud of what we have achieved till now.”

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