Mandar Rao Dessai, a crucial piece of Sergio Lobera's Mumbai City FC, feels their Indian Super League game against SC East Bengal on Tuesday will be decided on who has better ball possession and who is able to get the most out of it. The match against East Bengal will be Mumbai City FC's third and so far, they have three points from two games. East Bengal played their only game so far against ATK Mohun Bagan and lost despite putting up a good performance.
Typical to a Lobera team, MCFC's game revolves around ball possession and trying to find spaces in the final third. Against ATK Mohun Bagan, East Bengal also had the ball for the majority of the time and created a lot of chances but were unable to find the back of the net. Mandar said Mumbai will not alter their plan for East Bengal and concentrate on keeping the ball.
"We will stick to the plan that is to keep the ball. We will have the ball and try to attack at the right time. We have to take care of them also, I saw their game and they were good. But their game is different to ours. It will be about who keeps the ball more. Let's hope for a good match against them. We have to take care of the set piece against us because they have some really strong players," Mandar said in an exclusive conversation with News18.com.
Mumbai City FC have four former FC Goa players in Mandar, Hugo Boumous, Mourtada Fall and Ahmed Jahouh. Ahead of the season, Mumbai were considered as one of the favourites for the title but so far, they have struggled to showcase their full power and have even found it tough to find the back of the net. Mandar shared that the team has been working hard in training and it will take some time for all the players to adapt to Lobera's style of play.
"The coach explains what he wants, what kind of football he wants Mumbai City to play. Overnight it won't change because there are a lot of new faces who don't yet know how the coach wants them to play. We also had a short pre-season. I think after a few games, things would go on the right track because the players will also know how the coach wants us to play. Adapting is very fast, everyone is training hard to play the way the coach wants. I think it will be alright after a few games.
"We have been doing what coach wants us to do but we still have to do a lot more. We have to be sharper in the final third. We have to concentrate on that to score more goals. As the team gels together, we will score more. Some of them are really new and might take some time. They are all experienced players, they are trying to do their best and adapt as soon as possible. We have to learn from our mistakes and try to improve for all the games," he said.
Mandar said the fact that he has three of his mates from FC Goa here at MCFC means he doesn't feel like he is part of a new team and that even with the new players, they have all become a "family" really soon.
Mandar explained that he had been with FC Goa for six years and the contract had not been renewed and it was in that time that Lobera contacted him and asked him if he could join the coach at MCFC.
"When coach signed for Mumbai City, he wanted me to come. I followed him because I know how he wants the team to play. I was very comfortable playing under him. That's an additional point for me to play under him again.
"Also, the officials of the City Group also told me what they want for the team from the start of the season. We all want to win something for the club. We are fighting for all the available trophies. That's the best thing a club can aim for," Mandar said.