Mumbai, Apr 15 (PTI) Mumbai FC are eager to stave off relegation and also finish in the top eight of the I-League that will ensure them a slot in the upcoming Federation Cup as they gear up to take on Chennai City FC in a 16th round clash here tomorrow.
“There are four teams ahead of us who we can catch up with. We don’t want to finish last, but want to play in the Federation Cup,” said Oscar Bruzon, who took over the reins of the team from sacked head coach Santosh Kashyap late into their campaign.
MFC have 11 points from 15 games with Goa’s Churchill Brothers, who have 16 points after losing 1-3 today to Aizawl FC in another 16th round game, being their lone rivals in the tussle to avoid finishing last in the ten-team league.
“They are a balanced team and have exceptional players up front, but they also have some weaknesses that we want to capitalise on,” said Bruzon about tomorrow’s game against Chennai City.
Bruzon’s philosophy is to ask his players to focus on the process and not on the results.
“We had done good work even against Churchill Brothers (in the 0-0 draw in their previous match). We are not focusing on results, but on process,” said Bruzon.
But the team has struggled to score in their last four home games which had all ended as goalless draws and Bruzon is keen to address this weakness.
“In the last four I-league games, we did not score here at the Cooperage. We are working on that. We are focusing a lot on compactness, on how to score. There are many ways to score, including through set-pieces, and we are opening our eyes,” said Bruzon.
He has injury issues too to deal with with three players – Djelal Sharityar , who was injured in the last game, Alex (Silva) (also not fit) and Thoi Singh who is slowly recovering from knee injury – in doubt for the match.
Chennai’s head coach, Sounder Rajan, has a lot of respect for MFC’s abilities, but is also eager to book a spot in the Federation Cup by aiming for a win.
“Mumbai FC led by one goal against us and gave us a tough time (before losing 1-2). They played very well against East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC, but luck was not with them. They are a good, organised side,” he said.
“We will go out for a win as we want to finish in the top 8 and qualify for the Federation Cup,” he added.
Player Darren Caldeira did not see any issues in the visiting team’s players adjusting to the artificial turf at the Cooperage Stadium.
“We are gelling well. It should not be too much of a problem playing on artificial turf,” he said.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.