It is Going to be a More Difficult, Competitive ISL Season: Mumbai City FC Coach Sergio Lobera

Sergio Lobera (Photo Credit: Twitter)

Sergio Lobera (Photo Credit: Twitter)

ISL 2020-21: Sergio Lobera said he would continue his style of play at Mumbai City FC and spoke about football in Covid-19 times, improving Indian players and more.

Mumbai City FC will be one of the favourites to win the title when the Indian Super League 2020-21 season starting November 20 in Goa. Mumbai City FC go into the season with a strong squad on paper and former FC Goa coach Sergio Lobera as the coach. Lobera was the coach of FC Goa for three years and produced some extremely entertaining football. Ahead of the upcoming season, Lobera said his style would remain the same despite the change in club.

"My style of football is non-negotiable. I think you know my style of play. I think you need to balance the attack and defence. It's important to win but also keeping possession, quick recovery, playing in opponents' half and trying to score a lot of goals. At FC Goa, there was a lot of talks about keeping clean sheets but for me, winning the games is most important," Lobera said in a digital press conference on Tuesday.

Lobera has brought with himself three players from his previous club in Mourtada Fall, Hugo Boumous and Ahmed Jahouh. All three of them were very crucial to Lobera's team in Goa and the coach has retained his team's core in Mumbai as well. According to Lobera, it will be easier for him to implement his style if he has players who have already worked under him.

"I also need to build my team and it is helpful for me to build it with players that I have worked with before. But we need to work with 28 players and we need to try to play our best.

"Everyone wants to win but my target is with my team, my club. I want to play beautiful football and I want to implement my style of play. My target is to win. We need focus, process and time but here, we need to arrive with the drive to win. We have short time but we need to prepare for the first game and the rest of the season. It is a challenge because we have to play a lot of games in a short time but I am excited," he said.


Football is the first sport to begin competitively in India in coronavirus times. Live sport came back with I-League qualifiers in Kolkata in October and now, the ISL will take place in Goa in a bio-secure bubble. Lobera said he and all the others involved in the league were lucky because they could get on with their jobs and make their fans happy.

"It is nice to play in Goa but the situation is obviously not good. It is very hard all over the world. It is important to be safe. In my opinion, it is going to be a more difficult and competitive season. I know the ISL but I need to know the Indian players. There are very good teams and signings. I think teams have made big efforts for the team and it is good for the competition."


Lobera conceded that living in a bubble is not easy and the team have help from psychologists as well. He was however happy with the current situation and was positive about it.

"We need to know we are family. We need to spend a lot of time together. It is not just one month, we need to work together in a bubble for a long time. We have good environment within the team. We have help from psychologists and till now I am very happy with the situation and I am positive. Living in a bubble is not easy but we need to work with what we have. And as I said, we are lucky that we have jobs and we can come and play and train and we need to feel happy about that.

"We are doing different activities and not just football. Talking about a lot of other things. I have good and funny persons around me so that's good in a bubble. I think we are enjoying during the training sessions and in the hotel as well."


Mumbai City FC have a very strong squad on paper with a massive attacking threat. However, he had two strikers in Bartholomew Ogbeche and Adam Le Fondre and this when Lobera is not known for playing two strikers in his style of football. However, Lobera said it was good to have more options and he needs a strong bench along with a good starting line-up.

"I think as a coach, you want to have the best players. Just with 11 players, it is very difficult to win a league, I need the whole squad. My job as a coach is to improve the players, tactically, physically and mentally. But the most important thing is to manage the players. Everyone needs to know the objective as a team and also cater individually. As a coach, I need to manage both winning and qualitative play. When you have more options, you can change game and the direction of it. It is good for me as a coach," Lobera said.

Lobera said he was focussed on improving the level of the Indian players in the squad and his foreigners will play a major role in that. "We have very experimental players with amazing careers and it can help us a lot. But most important is to improve the level of Indian players and for me, I need the help of foreign players for that. It is impossible to win the league if the level of Indian players is not good and it is impossible to improve the Indians if the foreigners don't understand the situation in India and work accordingly so that is my job. Foreign players play a big part on and off the pitch."


Lobera said he was happy to be back in India and was happy with his squad as well. "This is my fourth season and India is part of my life and I am happy. I am happy with the squad, we have been working a lot to prepare. I am very happy with my players and I think we are building something special and I am getting the players to play our style of play."

Lobera shied away from admitting they were one of the favourites saying, he wants to respect all the teams. "If I tell you we are favourites, it won't be respecting other teams and may be not true. We have to keep working this way, we are happy with our job but there are very good teams. I have to stay focussed on my team and not waste time thinking about other teams."

However, he was happy with the pressure that the favourites tag brings with itself because it means they were a good team with good players.

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