ISL 2020-21: Mandar Rao Dessai explains FC Goa exit for Mumbai City FC

ISL 2020: “Everyone wants to play competitive football and we can’t wait for the tournament to begin,” says Mandar Rao Dessai, who has joined Mumbai City from FC Goa.

Mandar Dessai spent six seasons at FC Goa, making 97 appearances for the club.   -  ISL/Sportzpics

The 2020-21 edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) will be a new challenge for Mandar Rao Dessai. The 28-year-old, who was one of the key players for FC Goa, has shifted allegiance to Mumbai City FC.

An experienced campaigner, Dessai featured for and captained Goa for the last six seasons and also guided the team to the League Shield and Super Cup titles. As he starts his new stint, he is looking forward to working with his old coach Sergio Lobera, who is currently at the helm of Mumbai City.

Dessai spoke to Sportstar about his goals and the season ahead.

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What made you shift base to Mumbai City FC?

I have been playing for FC Goa for the last six years and we have been doing well. We won the League Shield and also the Super Cup. After that they changed the whole thing (setup). Ultimately, it’s up to the club how they want to (do it). I was very excited to be part of Mumbai City FC because my former coach (at FC Goa) Sergio Lobera is the head coach here. It has been a pleasure to join here and play under him.

Since you share a good rapport with Lobera, what are your expectations from this year’s tournament?

We have got some really good players. Everybody knows what the head coach – Lobera – wants from them and they are really happy to work under him and deliver. They want to adapt to his style of football. Everyone is excited to start a new season under a very good coach.

Personally, how much of an advantage is it to play under Lobera and is there any particular area that you would like to improve?

I have been playing under him for the last three years, so I know what exactly he wants. He has helped me immensely and we want to achieve our goals in this year’s tournament. It is really important for all the players to understand what the coach wants from us and work accordingly. As far as I am concerned, I want to improve every day and learn from him. It is a new season, so it is important that you improve yourself and play your part.

Mandar, who spent three seasons under Lobera at Goa, says the Spaniard has helped him immensely in his development. - ISL/SPORTZPICS


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It’s a long season and keeping in mind the players and the bench, what do you think are the strengths of this team?

I think we want to adapt to the style of play that Lobera wants. It will help us grow us as a team. Everybody is excited and it is important that we not only play attacking football, but also at times go on the defensive, depending on the situation. We are working on all those things.

This time, a new team – SC East Bengal – has joined. How intense will the competition be?

There is a lot of competition. It is good that we have more teams because we will have more matches. So, everyone wants to play competitive football and we can’t wait for the tournament to begin.

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The players will have to be inside a bio-bubble. How challenging will it be to stay focused in a bio-secure environment for six months?

It’s a new life for all of us. We have to be safe inside the bubble. It is difficult, but it is the only solution. So, it is better that we stick to the rules given by the club and stay safe.