Jorge Costa is hoping to get breathing time to build Mumbai City FC as per his vision. He has brought in midfielder Paulo Machado (Portugal) and winger Moudou Sougou (Senegal) to bolster the side.
The Portuguese, signed as chief coach, comes armed with Champions League experience as FC Porto captain under Jose Mourinho.
Costa has coaching experience in Portugal, Africa and Eastern Europe before taking up the ISL offer, his first India venture with new players, including young Indians and a couple of old hands.
State of play
Sliding to seventh position in the league was an under-achievement Mumbai City FC will hope to forget.
Alexandre Guimaraes, under whom the side topped the table two seasons ago, paid the price after the situation slipped out of control following the exit of Uruguayan ace Diego Forlan, India captain Sunil Chhetri at the same time for different reasons.
New coach Costa is hopeful of getting the best out of his players.
“If I have Ronaldo, Messi and Modric, I’ll play a certain way. I have my team, which I respect a lot, and [I’ll try to] get the best of out them,” he said.
Goalkeeper Amrinder Singh remains the player to beat for rival teams.
Known for reflex blocks under extreme pressure and confident in the goalmouth, he pulled off 55 saves in 16 games for Mumbai City, the most by any shot-stopper in last season’s competition.
Defensive errors under pressure last season undid the exceptional work under the bar by goalkeeper Amrinder.
The team managed only two clean sheets and two draws in 18 matches.
Goals dried up in the latter stage when playmaker Achille Emana was marked and forward Balwant Singh’s scoring rate dipped.
Lucian Goian, Arnold Issoho, Marcus Klisura (defenders), Matias Mirabaje, Modou Sougon, Paulo Machado (midfielders), Rafael Bastos (forward).
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