Mumbai City will play beautiful, attacking football: Coach Sergio Lobera
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this season's 11-team ISL will be played within a bio-bubble, entirely in Goa
MUMBAI City FC's (MCFC) new coach, Spain's Sergio Lobera on Tuesday promised to deliver a beautiful and attacking style of football in the upcoming seventh edition of the Indian Super League (ISL), beginning on November 20.
Lobera, 43, replaced Portugal's Jorge Costa after Mumbai City FC failed to qualify for the play-offs last season.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this season's 11-team ISL will be played within a bio-bubble, entirely in Goa. And the former assistant coach of Spanish giants, FC Barcelona is crystal clear about his expectations from the team.
"My philosophy as coach is to take care of the football as well as the supporters. They need to enjoy 90 minutes. For me, it's very important to play attacking football. Obviously, we need to strike a balance between attack and defence," said Lobera during a virtual press conference on Tuesday.
Last year, MCFC joined hands with Abu Dhabi-based City Football Group (CFG) that owns English Premier League giants Manchester City, and this makes attacking
football a pre-requisite, felt Lobera.
"For Mumbai City and City Football Group, the style of play is very important. It's not about just winning, but winning by playing beautiful football. And for me too, it's not only important to keep clean sheets but to play beautifully too," added Lobera, who has previously coached Spanish side Las Palmas (2012-14) and Moroccan club Moghreb Tetouan (2014-17).
MCFC open their campaign against Northeast United FC on November 21. Four days later, Lobera faces his former club FC Goa (November 25), whom he led to the ISL semi-finals twice besides winning the Super Cup and earning a place in the AFC Champions League.
He admitted that the FC Goa encounter would be special. "As a coach, it will be a special game for me. To play against your former side and former players is good. I have very good memories with the club. We won a trophy [Super Cup]. We managed to have more FC Goa players in the India team. Then, the spot in the AFC Champions League. So, there are a lot of things to be proud of during my time there. But we will try to approach it like any other game as we need to win against other teams too and not only against FC Goa," the Spaniard reasoned.
'Pressure is good'
MCFC were very active in the transfer market and when asked if the heavy spending has increased the pressure on him to deliver, Lobera said: "I want this additional pressure. It's a pleasure for me to work where there is pressure because it shows that I am at a very good club."
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