Table-toppers Mumbai City FC would have history in mind when they clash with NorthEast United FC on Saturday as mere a win or draw would suffice to create the longest unbeaten streak in Indian Super League history.
Mumbai City are unbeaten in their last 12 games, having won nine and drawn thrice and are leading the table with 30 points. A win or a draw on Saturday at the GMC Stadium on Saturday will see Sergio Lobera's team better a feat that has been standing since 2015 in the name of FC Goa (12 unbeaten games).
However, Mumbai City have dropped points in the last three games. They were held twice and were able to score just two in those games and now face NorthEast, a side that inflicted the only defeat of the season on the league leaders. But Lobera seemed unconcerned.
"I am not worried about the past game. NorthEast have improved a lot in the last two games. They are playing good attacking football and are comfortable with the ball and keep possession," said Lobera.
"For us, this is going to be a different game. But we have improved from our first match of the competition but NorthEast also (has improved). It's not easy to play against NorthEast now. We have to go 100 percent if we want to win," he added.
Some of the Mumbai players are already on three yellow cards and are on the verge of suspensions but Lobera stressed the importance of a win. "We need three points every game and every match is important for us. We need to play thinking of three points," he said.
NorthEast United, on their part, seemed to have turned a corner under interim coach Khalid Jamil and are on a two-match winning run. At the same time, it has been seven games since they last maintained a clean sheet. Assistant coach Alison Kharsyntiew is aware of the threat that Mumbai City pose.
"Mumbai City are a good team. But we must believe that we can beat them tomorrow. We just have to be disciplined in our attacking and defending principles and be confident," said Kharsyntiew.
Mumbai City boast one of the best attacking line-ups while their defensive stats are impressive too. Lobera's men have scored the most (19 goals) and conceded the least (5) in the league. The side is capable of creating problems for their opponents.
"We need to dictate the play. We need to control the game and yes if we don't have the ball, we have to defend well. We have to be patient with the ball, create chances and utilize it and that's the main aim for us," Kharsyntiew said.