An inconsistent Mumbai City FC welcome FC Pune City in a 10th round clash of the Hero Indian Super League in Navi Mumbai, as two teams meet for the fourth Maha Derby on Friday.
Both Nicloas Anelka and David Platt tried to act cool ahead of the Maha Derby, but failed to have hidden the tension ahead of the kickoff.
Mumbai City FC marquee-player-cum- manager seemed pretty worried about his teams inconsistent form in the first leg and is looking for ways to amend it in the second leg. The Islanders lie in sixth place but have a match in hand to reduce the deficit from league leader FC Goa but isna t helping the Frenchman to relax ahead of the Maha Derby.
a I believe we can do better than the away game we had in Pune but the Mumbai team is unpredictable. We can be very good on our day and we can also be very poor. That’s not a good point but I hope we will see the very good face of Mumbai against Pune tomorrow,a said Anelka on the eve of the match.
Anelka will be missing the likes of Sunil Chhetri, Subrata Paul and Sony Norde, all of whom have international commitments during the midweek and will be missing the Maha Derby. Mumbai City dona t have fond memories of the opening round away match and the missing of Chhetri and Paul will only further remind them of the poor result, but Anelka seems determined to provide a late charge for a spot in the semi-finals and promised that the team would be performing much better.
a They are good players, so of course we will miss them. But the team is ready and we will try our best to do the job without them.a
Anelka, though, has hinted that he has regained enough fitness to play some parts of the game and will be making more frequent appearance on the pitch during the second leg.a I have been training well and think I will need more minutes on the pitch to be fitter. But, yes, you can expect to see more of me in the second part of ISL.a
Meanwhile FC Pune City have concerns of their own ahead of the Maha Derby, as they failed to win any of their previous three away fixtures. Having succumbed to a loss against Chennaiyin FC and draws against Kerala Blasters and FC Goa, means that David Platta s boy will have enough motivation to amend their recent away form.
Platt though has been quite pleased with the performance of his boys, as he was found explaining his away forma We have only played three games away from home and it has been difficult. In Chennai, although we could have been out of the game in the first half, we finished well and could have got something. In Goa again we finished well. The only real performance we have had all season that displeased me totally was Kerala away, but it was our fourth match in 11 days with three of them being away.a
The Stallions made a great start to their campaign but have recently been stuttering to carry forward their early season form, though Platt has been unperturbed by the expectations of the Orange Army.
a Every team has gone through a patch where they have not been at their best. The parity in the league means there are no favourites, so others expectations have no consequence with me.
a Mumbai City will be a difficult game for us, away from home against a team that is there or thereabouts, so we will have to be disciplined in our play and confident to get the result,a said Platt.
Image Courtesy: ISL Media