What are your thoughts on the level of the players, are they where you want them to be?
“I’m very happy with where the players are based upon the time we had available. We were the last team to start pre-season and actually assembled our squad together. Even during pre-season we had a lot of players join us throughout that period of time. So we haven’t had as much time as others. In terms of where we are, I am happy with the work that we’ve done and the players have adapted in this short space of time we actually had with them.”
So your team has demonstrated the ability to go and win against various teams with the help of a variety of tactics. So is this something that you stress on a lot in training with this mentality or practice to change your approach based on the team you are facing?
“We have a very clear framework about how we want to play. When we face opposition from different teams we want to stick very true to our playing style. There will always be slight tweaks and changes in terms of how we want to approach each game and some of the challenges we might face to make sure we get on top of those moments. But overall we will stick to our playing style while there might be slight differences we may adapt for achieving success in games.”
Kerala Blasters revealed that their center-back Sipovic, will be missing the game on Sunday and even Harmanjot Khabra might be unavailable for the much. Do you think that comes as an added advantage for Mumbai?
“I don’t think the absence (of Sipovic) is something of an added advantage, they’ve got the good players. We got no control over what time we’re playing games how they were playing against us. We’ll still approach the game in the same way we would in order to win.”
What are your observations about the opponents?
“They’re (Kerala blasters) a very good team. They press high. I actually had the pleasure of working with one of their players Adrian Luna and he’s had a fantastic start of the season and is very influential and some of their playing. I very much look forward to connecting with Adrian and hopefully, he doesn’t play as well as he has done in previous games. But again, we’ll approach this game the same way we approach any other.”
Ahmed Jahouh is a central defensive midfielder, but he has the most number of assists this season. How do you see Jahouh as a player, and how important is he for your team?
“Jahouh is a player who performs very well for this team. We wanted to evolve Jahouh from last year and take it a step forward this year. We’ve done that, we’ve played him with Borges, we’ve played him with Apuia in the recent games, and we’re just trying to evolve his style and see if he can become more influential in different areas of the field”
What is your specific target for the season? Finishing top for the Champions League spot? Or are you aiming for a top-4 finish?
“We haven’t set a specific target about finishing top or finishing top-4. We just said we want to evolve a playing style, we want to play well in the game. So we’re convinced that if we can play well more consistently over the 90-minute period, then we will come away with more good results in the next matches. So that’s what we spoke with all the players and now we have to make sure that we can continue to get better in every game.”
Do you think your team’s adeptness from set pieces would be handy once again in the next match?
“I think the set pieces play a major part in every league and not just our team. If we look across the league, there is a lot of goals that are scored from set plays. In any league across the world set-piece generally account for between 30% and 50% of goals that are scored. So they’re a huge part of any game. Yes, they’re an important part of our game because they give us a different way of scoring, which was important in the last game. Again, they’re only one part of how we want to play, but we do pay attention to them. But not more, than I do for us on possession and off possession during games”
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