Mumbai City striker Modou Sougou expects his team to improve this season…
The duo spoke to Goal about their fresh aspirations for the upcoming season after their semi-final finish last time around.
“I had a very positive experience of playing in the ISL. Our target was to finish in top four and we achieved it. I really like playing in India. I like to play in different countries and so far this has been a good experience,” said Sougou, who finished joint top scorer alongside FC Goa‘s Ferran Corominas with 12 goals.
Sougou also spoke positively about his relationship with coach Jorge Costa as the duo has worked together for a while now. He said, “I have been playing under this coach since I started my career in Portugal. This is a big advantage. I know what he wants from his players and he always tries to bring out the best out from them. Good for Mumbai that he is the coach.”
While Mumbai City’s performance in the league stage was commendable, they suffered a humiliating exit from the playoffs, losing to FC Goa on a 5-2 aggregate which involved a 5-1 beating at home.
“The playoffs and the league stage are completely different,” he went on to explain. “The playoffs are like a cup competition. Sometimes you are on the lucky side (and sometimes not). Last season, we had the possibility to reach the final but we did some mistakes. Only with Goa, we had problems and in the last game (semi-final second leg) we found the solution. I don’t think we will make the same mistakes again this season.
“If you compare this team to last season’s, I think we have more options. There is good competition in the squad. We have got some good additions in (Mohamed) Larbi and (Amine) Chermiti. But this is on paper. We have to perform on the pitch and show how good we are. It will not be easy as teams will be more prepared. Like Goa, they haven’t changed their squad. This will help them to get better. Bengaluru after winning the title is psychologically stronger. They have signed good players. So it will be a nice season,” he concluded.
Paulo Machado, another vital cog in Costa’s team, believes that his team can once again finish in the top four.
“I think we expect Mumbai to finish in the top four in every edition. But we should do better than we did last season. We have a good team, better than last season. But we will see how we perform when the championship starts,” the Portuguese midfielder added.
The former Porto player was honest of his assessment of the season gone by but believes that his side is at an advantage to work under Costa for successive seasons.
“I think it is an advantage both for the players and the coach. Last year I did not expect much. Now we are familiar with the league. Some clubs have invested very well. Kerala (Blasters) is one of them. But this year we are better prepared than last season,” Machado signed out.