Jamshedpur FC will play out of their skin as they host Mumbai City FC in an Indian Super League tie at the JRD Tata Sports Complex here on Friday.
The race for a semi-final spot in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) has reached a critical stage and Jamshedpur FC know they have to stitch a winning run, starting with their clash with Mumbai.
Jamshedpur are fifth on the table (20 points) and are three points off the fourth spot. With just four games left in the league, Jamshedpur FC cannot afford to lose points and ground in the race for play-offs.
"In the last three matches, we lost 1-2 to ATK, had a draw against FC Goa and beat Delhi Dynamos. As we have conceded only three goals in these games, I don't think the defence is an issue. We should have cut out counter-attacks earlier, but you cannot blame the defence for that," said coach Cesar Ferrando, whose side has won only one of the last five matches.
Absence of star forward Tim Cahill and Michael Soosairaj due to injuries and Gourav Mukhi and Carlos Calvo due to suspensions may cause problems for Jamshedpur. But that they have not lost to Mumbai City at all in ISL so far will give them the confidence.
"Cahill's injury is a big problem for us. Losing Mukhi to a ban is a blow too since he was playing very well, so is losing Calvo and Soosairaj," said Ferrando.
Jamshedpur FC will need to be careful of Mumbai's counter-attacking strategy. The islanders do not mind giving the majority of the possession to opponents and prefer hitting teams on the counter.
The pace of their forward line, which comprises Arnold Issoko, Moudou Sougou and Rafael Bastos, has been used to deadly effect by coach Jorge Costa -- something that Ferrando needs to be cautious about. Sougou did not start Mumbai's last match due to a hamstring injury, though he has travelled to Jamshedpur.
"After tomorrow (Friday), we will only have three games till the end. Both teams will be under pressure, but it is our job to handle the pressure. The pressure will be more on Jamshedpur since we are already in the top-four and they are trying to come up in the table," said Costa.
Mumbai are looking to breach the 30-point psychological barrier with a win and inch within a point of league leaders Bengaluru FC. Expect Mumbai City to be cautious and prudent in the way they approach this game.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)