A normally combative Mumbai FC coach Khalid Jamil was oddly passive at the pre-match press conference here on Monday. Beneath the short, measured responses, however, lies a burning desire to break free.
His side enters this I-League fixture against Bengaluru FC (BFC) after a 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Shillong Lajong a few days ago. Jamil and his men are hurting. “Mentally, we are upset. We want to forget the 6-0 loss and be positive on Tuesday,” he said.
Jamil, who clashed with the partisan crowd when the two sides met at the Bengaluru Football Stadium last season, knows that his club will not receive a particularly warm response this time around either. “I don’t even remember what happened in that match. We are focussed only on gaining at least a point,” he said.
BFC fans, on their part, are reportedly preparing a few chants for the occasion. “They can do whatever they want. It won’t bother us,” the 37-year-old replied when asked if he was likely to get riled up on matchday.
His opposing number Ashley Westwood was his usual unassuming self. “I believe that the 6-0 loss was just a minor blip. We know that Mumbai FC is a tough side. It will go all out to get a win, and we must match them,” he said.
BFC, on paper, appears to be the favourite. The home side sits in second place on the points table, while the visitor lies sixth.
Westwood had a run-in with Jamil a year ago as well, and neither man is likely to take a backward step. “I don’t know what to expect,” Westwood said, when asked about a possible flare-up. Jamil was equally vague when posed the same question. “I can’t predict what will happen. If something happens, I will come here and speak,” he said.
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