ISL 2020-21 preview: Inconsistent Chennaiyin takes on table-topper Mumbai

While Chennaiyin has failed to get back-to-back wins this season, Mumbai City is on an 11-game unbeaten streak – a joint ISL record alongside Bengaluru FC.

After a demoralising stoppage-time defeat to ATK Mohun Bagan, it takes on league leader Mumbai City FC at the GMC Athletic Stadium in Bambolim on Monday.   -  ISL/SPORTZPICS

In a video posted on Chennaiyin FC’s Youtube channel, head coach Csaba Laszlo is seen trying to inspire a deflated unit, which has found the going tough thus far in the Indian Super League (ISL). “You can do better... I am talking to you because I know that everybody can do better in his own position. Everybody, every single person,” said the Romanian.

The task doesn’t get any easier for Chennaiyin. After a demoralising stoppage-time defeat to ATK Mohun Bagan, it takes on league leader Mumbai City FC at the GMC Athletic Stadium in Bambolim on Monday.

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While Chennaiyin has failed to get back-to-back wins this season, Mumbai City is on an 11-game unbeaten streak – a joint ISL record alongside Bengaluru FC’s 2018-19 title-winning team -- which is studded with nine victories.

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It will be a battle of the league’s top scorers, Mumbai City (18 goals), against the lowest scorers, Chennaiyin (10).

Laszlo, who had set up his side to play on the counter against Bagan, said he will change his tactic when his side faces Mumbai City.

“In this game against Mumbai, it will be completely different,” said Laszlo. “We have to open the game up and we want to score goals. Even if it's Mumbai City, one of the most dangerous teams in the ISL, we have to try to win the game. I'm sure that we will get chances and there will be possibilities to use but the instinct to be hungry will be the key tomorrow.”

Key central midfielder Anirudh Thapa, who missed the last game due to an injury, will face a late fitness test on match-day.

Of the two goals conceded from open play by Mumbai City, one of them came against Chennaiyin in the reverse fixture. Sergio Lobera’s side came back from a goal down to win 2-1 despite not being at its best. Qualifying for next season’s AFC Champions League remains a big ambition for Lobera and he doesn’t want his side to slip up in the second half of the season.

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"We are top of the table but especially in this league, in this situation, everything can change in seven days. Sometimes you have three games in 10 days and nine points is a lot of points. Till now the situation is good, but we want the best situation at the end of the season.

"I don't need to explain the situation [exit from FC Goa] of last season. Hopefully, it's possible to achieve it [ACL qualification] this season,” said the Spaniard.