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Mumbai City FC Banking on Jorge Costa’s Defensive Nous Ahead of ISL Season Five

Mumbai City FC manager Jorge Costa was once captain of a legendary football team. The FC Porto side of the 2003-2004 season went on the win the UEFA Champions League, and Costa was the heartbeat. Managed by current Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, Costa was described as a centre-back who was willing to die for the cause of the team.

News18 Sports

Updated:September 26, 2018, 4:45 PM IST
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Mumbai City FC Banking on Jorge Costa’s Defensive Nous Ahead of ISL Season Five
Image: @MumbaiCityFC/Twitter
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Mumbai City FC manager Jorge Costa was once captain of a legendary football team. The FC Porto side of the 2003-2004 season went on the win the UEFA Champions League, and Costa was the heartbeat. Managed by current Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, Costa was described as a centre-back who was willing to die for the cause of the team.

Now, fifteen years later, Costa hopes to instill some of the same values in his Mumbai City FC side, which is gearing up for the fifth season of the Indian Super League. In fact, after the team conceded 29 goals in ISL season 4, slumping to a seventh place finish, defence is an area which needs to be addressed immediately.

With characters like Romanian Lucian Goian around, who is the club captain, and Indian goalkeeper Amrinder Singh, Costa has good personnel to work with and execute his plans. His ‘far from perfect’ team needs some work.

“We had a good pre-season, winning three of the four games (in Thailand) and one draw. But we are far from perfection and have a lot of work to do,” Costa said. “This is a new season, a new coach, some new players and we will start from the beginning. Of course we must learn from our past mistakes but the most important thing is to understand the way forward.”

Goian is the only foreign player that Mumbai have retained this season, and will be spending his third season with the club. Of the seven foreign players in Mumbai’s ranks this season, only two are defenders. It goes to show that Costa will be placing his faith in Indian defenders like Anwar Ali and Subhasish Bose to provide his team with the stability he wants.

Twenty nine year-old Uruguayan midfielder Matias Mirabaje has been roped in from Delhi Dynamos, while 32 year-old Paulo Machado (who has represented the Portuguese national team six times) will add further steel in midfield. Senegalese winger Modou Sougou, who was on loan from Sheffield Wednesday at Portuguese club Moreirense has impressed in pre-season, and will be pushing for a starting spot. Thirty three year old Brazilian striker Rafael Bastos having joined from Brazilian club Clube do Remo will be in the conversation as well.

Among the Indian players to watch out for will be talented midfielder Milan Singh who has previously been on the books of Kerala Blasters and Delhi Dynamos, and left-back Subhasish Bose who most recently captained the Indian side in the SAFF Championship held in Bangladesh earlier in September.

Amrinder Singh is likely to start between the sticks, and he emphasized on the importance of defensive organization. “Last year you saw that the coach (Guimaraes) was a bit defensive,” he said. “This year also, the new coach wants to have a strong defence. It is important to remain tight at the back and then go for the raid. So naturally, this season again our focus is more on defence.”

He added, “This year we are like a family. In football, this is very important. I am happy that every member of the team is looking after each other. Last time maybe this was missing.”

Mumbai has finished seventh, sixth, first and seventh at the end of the league stage in the last four ISL campaigns. On paper, the team seems to have the right balance of youth and experience, along with the philosophy of an uncompromising manager. The team has a chance to put that all to test when they take on Jamshedpur FC in the opening game of their league campaign at the Mumbai Football Arena on October 2.

| Edited by: Suyash Upadhyaya
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