Mumbai: With the coveted Indian Super League title eluding them for the last five seasons, Mumbai City FC are gearing up for yet another challenging season and are hoping to make it to the top four.
Skipper Paulo Machado said this year he expects the team to make it to the finals, and they have more players to choose from this time around.
"This season, we expect to be in the top four again. We will have a better team and we will see (the performance) when we start (the campaign)," the central midfielder from Portugal told reporters here.
"To win the title, you must reach the play-offs, but for us, the most important target is to be in the top four, then everything is possible," he added.
Last season, Mumbai's blistering campaign ended in the semi-finals after a heartbreaking loss to FC Goa. Goa became a runner up, losing to champions Bengaluru FC.
"This pre-season, we were strong and different from other teams because we worked almost for two months," said the skipper.
Coach Jorge Costa, who will spend his second season with the side, was also optimistic about the team's chances.
"Last season we did very well, but that is not enough, we want to win," he said.
Costa stressed that he had more playing options this time around.
"At present, we don't have any idea about other teams, but I am happy with the players they gave me to work with," he noted.
Mumbai's star player Modou Sougou, who netted 12 goals last season, said that in football the past does not matter.
"If you compare the last season with this one, all the teams are better, and so many teams invest to have better players, that is why the season will be difficult," the Senegalese player said.
"We have more balance in the squad. For us, our first target is to be in the top four and after that let's see what happens," he said.
Indian national Rowllin Borges, who will be donning the Mumbai jersey for the first time after spending three seasons with the Northeast United FC, said he was giving his best and expects to deliver for the team.
The club played five pre-season games and will start their campaign with a game at Kochi against Kerala Blasters on October 24.
CEO of the franchise Indranil Das Blah said the goal was to move two steps ahead than the last season and win the trophy.