Wasteful Mumbai take on struggling Salgaocar

Mumbai FC coach Khalid Jamil: It’s going to be a tough match, far from an easy one. I have seen Salgaocar play; they are a good side.

Mumbai FC coach Khalid Jamil (centre) during his team's I-League match against Bengaluru FC last seaosn.   -  K MURALI KUMAR

For most football fans, Mumbai FC coach Khalid Jamil’s first priority to not to lose a match and concede the big points would appear altogether a defensive strategy, but the young coach (he is only 38) had no qualms while defining his team’s goals in the early phase of the I-League which itself appears as a run of the mill competition.

“What’s wrong with a draw? To earn one point is also good. What’s the hurry? We have played only two matches. We have to be patient and not panic. I believe that the first objective should be to save relegation and then move upwards in the points table. We don’t go into the match with results in our hand. So a draw is also a result. It’s neither good nor bad. According to me it’s a good result, we get at least one point.”

Mumbai FC did not find the back of the net against Shillong Lajong in their previous match and also in their first home match against East Bengal, but they did not let in a goal either in both matches. On the eve of the home team’s third league match against Salgaocar SC here on Sunday, Jamil highlighted his team’s inability to convert at least half a dozen half chances against the Kolkata side and that three points from that match would have been an appropriate outcome.

Jamil believes that Japanese forward Ryuki Kozawa will be able to find the mark. The Mumbai FC coach revealed that Kozawa’s transfer papers have been cleared and that he may start against the Goan side and that midfielder Steven Dias is unlikely to be fielded because of an ankle injury. Mumbai FC are scheduled to play a home match against Bengaluru FC on January 27 and hence Jamil doesn’t want to risk fielding Dias against Salgaocar.

Outlining his team’s overall strategy, Jamil further explained, “There’s a necessity to get a positive result against Salgaocar. It’s going to be a tough match, far from an easy one. I have seen Salgaocar play; they are a good side. They played a good home match against Mohun Bagan. We just cannot to take them lightly. We have to finish the half-chances. We created four or five set-piece corners against East Bengal and Sushil Kumar did not shoot once.”

Salgaocar ran into two tough teams and lost 2-4 to Bengaluru FC and 1-2 to Mohun Bagan in their opening games. Their Scottish coach Malcolm Thompson said there’s a need to get some points on the board. “We want to win every game. The team is capable of doing that. It’s all about the group getting to understand each other. We are very strong as a group, character-wise and team-wise also.’’