Wary of Mumbai despite dismal away record – Taylor

It’s a team who did not win a single away game last season, a side who have come here after a stinging loss to FC Pune City the other day but Peter Taylor is not taking Mumbai City FC lightly.

Kerala Blasters head coach Peter Taylor   -  H. Vibhu

Englishman Sanchez Watt might get a place in Kerala's starting XI against Mumbai City FC.

It’s a team who did not win a single away game last season, a side who have come here after a stinging loss to FC Pune City the other day but Peter Taylor is not taking Mumbai City FC lightly.

“Whenever a team gets beaten, nine times out of ten they are more determined the next time. So I think that makes the game harder for us because I’m sure Mumbai has come here very determined,” said the Kerala Blasters head coach on the eve of his team’s second Indian Super League match against Mumbai which kicks-off at the Nehru Stadium here on Saturday evening.

“We’ve got to make sure that we respect that and we are also very determined to try and do well again. Mumbai has got some very good forwards and that’s going to be a big test. We have to get things right.”

That could mean giving Englishman Sanchez Watt – his arrival at the start of the second-half added more bite to the attack in the home team’s brilliant 3-1 over NorthEast United FC early this week – a place in the Blasters’ starting XI.

Blasters’ captain Peter Ramage was clear about how focused his team needed to be.

“Mumbai have quality players like Nicolas Anelka and Andre Moritz, both players who have played at the highest level, so we know we have to be on our guard,” said the central defender.

Anelka, the former French World Cup player and Euro 2000 winner, who is also the team’s marquee player-cum-head coach, made a late appearance and did not make much of a mark in his team’s opener in Pune early this week but the Blasters would do well to remember that his goal, off a fiery free-kick, gave Mumbai a 1-0 victory at home over the Kerala side last season.

Mumbai had just four wins as they finished seventh among eight teams in the ISL last year but Brazilian midfielder Moritz was the architect of their biggest win, a 5-0 thrashing of Pune City, when he scored a hat-trick.

Meanwhile Mumbai’s assistant coach Oscar Bruzon chose to dwell on Mumbai’s positives from the last game – his team’s excellent first-half and the many chances his boys created – to inspire his side.

“It’s going to be a good battle between teams which play different styles,” said the Spaniard who coached Sporting Clube de Goa to the Federation Cup final in Kochi a couple of years ago.

“All of us know how the Blasters play, they are very strong at the back with three foreigners and two wingers, they pack the midfield and use two strikers… they will have possession.

“But I don’t like possession game, possession for me is nothing. For me, if it’s only half possession and then you create chances, then it’s a very good match.

“We have worked on our defence, which was a problem area in the last match. Tomorrow, we need to be sharper and more aware of Kerala’s counter attack.”

The Blasters’ midfilder Peter Carvalho and Mumbai’s Brandon Fernandes and Sampath Kumar Kuttymani are on the injured list.