Forlan's the difference for Mumbai City this season: Sunil Chhetri

Updated: Dec 05, 2016, 11:55 IST | Noel D'Souza

Mumbai City FC (MCFC) couldn't have asked for a better run this season of the Indian Super League (ISL) after becoming the first side to seal a semi-final berth. The team's fluidity in attack and solidity in defence has seen coach Alexandre Guimaraes' side concede just eight goals this season

Diego Forlan and Sunil Chhetri
Mumbai City FC players Diego Forlan and Sunil Chhetri addresses the media in Mumbai after Qualifying for the semi-finals for the first time in ISL in Mumbai on Tuesday. Pic/PTI

Mumbai City FC (MCFC) couldn’t have asked for a better run this season of the Indian Super League (ISL) after becoming the first side to seal a semi-final berth post their 2-0 win at home against defending champions Chennaiyin FC. The team’s fluidity in attack and solidity in defence has seen coach Alexandre Guimaraes’ side concede just eight goals, the fewest this season.

So what has been the major turn around this time for the team? “We had a good team in the second season but we just lost track in between. One of the reasons we are doing well this time is Diego Forlan. He has been very influential — not only the fact that he has been so good on the pitch, but off it too he mingles with the players. His experience comes really handy. He has been a voice in training,” MCFC’s ace Indian striker Sunil Chhetri, who joined his team after completing his Bengaluru FC commitments on November 5, said during a media interaction yesterday.

“We have a very able coach and a coaching staff, which really helps. We are all in sync. Whatever the coach wants is what the player understands and we are all heading in the same direction. More than often you will get success when this happens and probably that’s why we are sitting comfortable in the first place. The whole team is very united. I’ve heard this that there are groups in different teams, but there are no groups here. We are all one, everybody fights for the team and that’s why we are doing well,” Chhetri added.

Mumbai City striker Diego Forlan. Pic/Sportzpics
Mumbai City striker Diego Forlan. Pic/Sportzpics

Marquee player Forlan, who was also present alongside Chhetri, also echoed his teammate’s sentiments. “We have really good players, doesn’t matter if they are Indian or foreign players, they are doing well. One player who has been outstanding at the moment is Lucian Goian. Every time a player has had the opportunity, he has done well. We are one group, we enjoy each other’s company while training, living in the hotel and when we travel also. We enjoy on the pitch as well, which is most important. We are winning really good games and doing the job,” the former Manchester United star added.

Quizzed about the Indian football calendar having one league, Forlan, who has played professional football in eight countries across the globe, said: “It will be good to join both leagues. It’s good for me as a foreigner and a 37-year-old to come here and play for three months, but it’s not good for the future of Indian football. If you look around the world, every league is played over a period of nine to 10 months. In Europe, if you calculate all the game in a season, it comes to almost 60 games and they play the whole year.”

Chhetri too aligned himself on the same line of thought. “One long league is going to be good and that’s what everyone understands. To have a more competitive set up is going to be great. One day we might see 14-20 teams. A longer league, with more opportunities for Indian players, with more able coaches is what we all would love to see,” the Indian skipper signed off.

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