Respectful Thangboi Singto wary of Mumbai FC’s threat

Shillong Lajong make the long trip to the west to face Mumbai FC at Cooperage on Friday as the Meghalaya side look to do the double over the Mumbai side after Shillong Lajong edged them in the reverse fixture at the Nehru Stadium in Shillong.

Coach Thangboi Singto has the leisure of a fully fit squad but he felt his side will have to tackle the heat of Mumbai. ”We have a fully fit squad to choose from but the players will have to cope with the conditions and the heat will be a concern as we hail from a region where the temperatures are low. But as professionals we have to deal with all the conditions and it is not new for us as we faced similar condition in Goa during our last game”.

Thangboi Singto paid tribute to Mumbai FC’s home form and feels his side will need to fight hard to get a result at Cooperage. “We know that Mumbai FC are very strong at home and have a one of the best home records in the league and we will have to play very well to get a result in this game”.

The Manipuri coach admitted the height and strength of the Mumbai FC players gave them an advantage from set-pieces but feels his side should be disciplined and be focused on playing their own game. “They are a tall and strong side and very dangerous from set pieces and we have to make sure that we don’t give away cheap free kicks and throw ins. But we have to focus on playing our own game and try to deal with the set pieces in the best way possible”.

Shillong Lajong have only managed two wins all season, but one of them came against Mumbai FC when the two sides met in the reverse fixture where Shillong Lajong ran out 1-0 winners and Thangboi Singto feels the result will aid his side to a certain extent but must not rest on their laurels.

“The win in our last game against Mumbai FC does help little bit as gives us the belief, but tomorrow is a fresh game in different conditions and we must not depend on what happened in the past”.

Thangboi Sinto highlighted the threat posed by the Mumbai FC front man Josimar Da Silva, but insisted that Mumbai FC are very effective as a unit and have a winning mentality instilled in them by their coach. “Josimar is a threat. He may not have scored a lot of goals but he is very dangerous in the box and we must be alert. Overall, Mumbai FC are very strong as a unit and their players are fully committed to the cause thanks to a winning mentality instilled in them by their coach”.

The Shillong Lajong coach must be glad his side won’t have to face their former employee in Taisuke Matsugae who is likely to be out with an injury. But Thangboi Singto hailed his ex-player as one of the toughest in the Indian game.

“Taisuke is one of the toughest lads in Indian Football. I remember when he was with us last season, he played 2-3 games with a broken finger. He is a very committed lad and very talented as well”.

Shillong sit just above the foot of the table and Thangboi Singto aims at keeping his side in the division and feels the need to start winning for that to happen. “We need to start winning games. There is not a lot of difference in terms of points in the bottom half of the table so one or two wins could mean we could move up the table quite considerably. We want to stay in the I-League next season and we need to start collecting points”.

Thangboi Singto expects a footballing spectacle at Cooperage tomorrow and the composed coach could have a thing or two up his sleeve which might surprise the Cooperage faithful. Only time will tell.

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