Mumbai: U Mumba — which has reached the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi final thrice and won the title once — will be a nervous starter against Puneri Paltan in the first of the four home-leg matches at the NSCI Dome on Wednesday. Placed fifth with 27 points from nine games, U Mumbai needs to pick up the big points against Pune in order to return to winning ways. It has so far lost four matches.

Coach E. Bhaskaran said that the teams have undergone change in season 4 and his team has to get its act together in defence. “This season has not panned out as planned and while I am disappointed with the performances so far, I was able to recognise that the mistakes made were rectifiable. We have been making small mistakes which have set us back, and we have been training day-in and day-out to avoid repeating those same mistakes. We have to win three of the last five games, but for me the challenge is to win all five games, then only I will be able to breathe easy. We look forward to a successful home leg”, said Bhaskaran.

U Mumba’s other matches are against Telugu Titans, Bengal Warriors, Bengaluru Bulls in Mumbai and against Dabang Delhi in Delhi.

Team owner Ronnie Screwvala is upbeat of his team making the top four. “I think Season 4 has really taken the game to very high level for everyone. All eight teams are playing extremely well and we have had different people come to the fore and seeing a lot of diversified talent. I think that this is the best thing that could have happened to the game. This is sport; we are not fighting a war. We have good days and we have bad days, but our greatest sense of pride is that in all three previous seasons, we have been to the finals and have won one. I think no sport can start or succeed under pressure. So the message to our team is to go out there and play your best.”