Mumbai City’s 0-3 defeat to Kerala Blasters has been one of the biggest surprises of the ISL this season. The reigning champion will be keen to bounce back when it takes on NorthEast United at Fatorda’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Monday.
Mumbai is still at the top of the table, though. NorthEast is placed way down – at ninth, with only Bengaluru and East Bengal below. And it isn’t in the best of form, having lost three of its last four games, including a 1-5 drubbing at the hands of Hyderabad.
Khalid Jamil’s boys, however, have fared much better in their last two games. They defeated East Bengal 2-0 and put up a good fight before losing 2-3 to ATK Mohun Bagan.
They would have to come up with an even stronger fight against a champion side that has had plenty of time to lick its wounds after a stunning loss. Their coach believes beating Mumbai isn’t impossible.
“We can beat them,” Jamil said. “We have to believe in ourselves. We must play as a team, as a unit.”
His counterpart said that any team was capable of beating anybody in the ISL. “We have seen an example of that in our own games,” said Des Buckingham. “It is important that we prepare for every team as much as we can.”
The defeat to Blasters notwithstanding, Mumbai has shown it got its preparation right most of the time; it has won five of its seven games, two more than anyone else.