Important not to play catch-up in ISL, according to MCFC coach Costa

The 46-year-old coach will be taking charge of a new-look Mumbai City FC in the fifth edition of the Indian Super League.

Jorge Costa has over 300 appearances for FC Porto.   -  Twitter @MumbaiCityFC

Mumbai City FC has brought in Portuguese coach Jorge Costa, the central defender and captain of FC Porto's 2004 Champions League-winning side, to take charge of a new-look side in the fifth season of the Indian Super League.

Costa is keen to hit the right notes as the Islanders look to reverse its fortunes. The 46-year-old spoke to Sportstar about his approach and targets for the upcoming season.
 

What are your thoughts on the team combination this time?

It’s too soon to make any assessment just yet. I am extremely happy with the squad I have. The Indian players are very good. They have very good technical skills. But like I said, it’s too soon. We are motivated, we are optimistic but there’s a lot of work to be done.

As a coach what will be your initial target at Mumbai City FC?

At this stage, in the pre-season, we cannot set accurate targets yet. But of course, in the league, given how the format of the ISL is, our first target is to finish in the top-four. That is what everyone at the club wants. Then it is a different ballgame altogether. We don’t want to get too ahead of ourselves. Qualifying for the playoffs will be our primary objective and we will be giving everything we have to achieve that.

In a tournament like the ISL, how important is it to get off to a good start?

The ISL is a fairly short league. If a team doesn’t gather enough points in the first few games, they could find themselves in the chasing pack very quickly. We don’t want to be there. We want to have a good start to our league season and play good football and hopefully, we will be up there and in the play-offs come the business end of the season.

How do you plan to strike a balance between Indians and foreigners?

The way I look at the squad, is 25 players. For me, it doesn’t matter whether it is an Indian player or a foreign player. They’re all at the same level for me. Even though the league rules limit the number of foreign players, I will play my best XI in every game, irrespective of the combination of Indians and foreigners. Because our only objective is to put out a set of players who can get us the three points on that particular day.