Mumbai City FC have had huge matches in the last couple of weeks. They first had an Indian Super League (ISL) 2020-21 Shield final against ATK Mohun Bagan, where they came out triumphant. They then had a gruelling two-legged semi-final against FC Goa, which they won in penalties and now, they prepare for the final on Saturday against ATKMB for the title. Mumbai’s midfielder Rowllin Borges says these are the kind of games professionals live for and that his team was ready for the big challenge on Saturday.
“I think as professionals you live to play these kind of matches, these kind of finals. I think we were very lucky and fortunate enough to play like three or four finals. Our last four games was no less than a final and I think we are very lucky. The boys are mentally very strong. The last two games against ATK Mohun Bagan, we won, but it’s the final next and we are going to try and best and hopefully, we can get the result,” Borges said in a roundtable conference with reporters.
“Boys are ready, from the first final we played for the Shield, after winning that the momentum has changed in the dressing room. The boys are confident and are really looking forward to the match on 13,” he expressed.
For Borges, the standout moments this season were the Shield win over ATK Mohun Bagan and the penalty shootout victory against FC Goa, where he scored the winning penalty. Being a Goan knocking out FC Goa was a rare moment but one that Borges enjoyed. “For me it was a great feeling to score the winning penalty. As a professional, this moment comes very rarely in your life and I enjoyed it fully.”
MCFC STYLE OF PLAY
The way Mumbai City FC have played this season has been nothing like what they played in the previous season. Sergio Lobera brings with him an exciting brand of football and one that Borges prefers. Borges has been with Mumbai since the previous season and he is the best man to articulate about the change of style.
“I think I have evolved a lot in terms of my passing and in helping the team go forward. I have improved a lot under Sergio in the attacking third.
“The style which we play now is completely different from last year. Also, the players who we brought in this year have helped us a lot. The credit goes to the coach, the staff and all the players,” he explained.
Borges shared that Lobera is not the one to back down and in fact in his plans, there is never really one where they sit back and just defend. “I think if you see in the second leg against ATK Mohun Bagan, first of the two goals they conceded, after that they completely came out attacking and that is why we couldn’t keep the possession much and couldn’t attack more. But we played well and got chances and scored another and in the end, the results matter the most.”
He also went back to the first leg of their league match against ATK Mohun Bagan and said the style does, however, alter based on the situation. “If you see the first game, ATKMB were sitting very deep and that allowed us to have the ball especially in their half. In the second leg, it was like a final and we really wanted to win and we got two goals. We played quite well in the second leg and that’s how we won the league.”
Borges said that for Lobera, it’s all about concentrating on the team’s play and how the coach’s plans will be executing instead of thinking too much about how the opponent is going to be playing. “No matter the match or the opponent, we go and try to play the Lobera style.”
Mumbai City FC have kept a total of 10 clean sheet this season, equal with their final opponents ATK Mohun Bagan. Lobera’s FC Goa was not exactly known for their defensive solidity but he has changed that at MCFC, even though they have been a bit leaky lately.
“Everyone is working hard especially in the defence. Even if you see Ogbeche and Adam, they are helping the team in the defensive area as well. As a team, we are working very hard in the defensive area and that’s how we are getting the results,” Borges shared.
He also credited the team’s assistant coach for their set piece prowess, which has bailed them out in a number of games. “He (assistant coach) designs our set pieces. We do it like how he wants and get the result.”
Borges and Jahouh provide the solid base to Mumbai City FC’s midfield and the Indian described it a dream to be playing alongside the Moroccon. “When you play alongside him, your job becomes easy. He guides you and on good or bad days, having Jahouh is motivating and helpful,” he said.
Borges picked FC Goa’s Alberto Noguera as the toughest opponent in midfield this season but ahead of the final, he said that according to him, Roy Krishna, David Williams and Manvir Singh are going to be the key players.