Guimaraes plays down favourites tag, says team identity key to Mumbai’s success

Kolkata, Dec 9 (IANS) Mumbai City FC are in the semi-finals of the Indian Super League (ISL) for the first time and coach Alexandre Guimaraes is of the opinion that they are not wearing the favourites tag due to that reason.

“We are in the semis for first time. Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) have been here two times already,” the 57-year old Costa Rican told reporters on Friday when quizzed whether they have the edge over ATK going by form in the first leg of the semi-finals at the Rabindra Sarovar Stadium here on Saturday.

“We are very excited to play our first semi. We are willing to do well like we did during the whole tournament. We will play against a team that is also offensive like we play,” he said, adding that the tie will be decided in the second leg in Mumbai.

“It will be decided in Mumbai,” the experienced coach opined.

Guimaraes said his team’s identity is what drives them.

“The confidence that we have been very stable during the tournament is good. The players embrace the idea and are trying to play with the mentality in good and bad times,” he said.

“Our confidence is based on team identity. We have to play to preserve the identity which is important for Mumbai City FC project.”

Mumbai have a very strong attacking line led by marquee man Diego Forlan. In defence, Lucian Goian has been in top form.

“We have been very solid but we don’t just defend. We have scored goals and have talented players up front which gives me the chance to choose from this bunch,” the coach said.

Asked if having the most noted big fish in Forlan is an added incentive, Guimaraes said, “Indeed. His intention of development of football that you here are trying to do is visible. He is one of the them who sets the precedent. He has shown his winning mentality and his professionalism. This is a guy who really wants to contribute for the team and development of Indian football.”