ISL 7: 'Boys will show their character when they play against Mumbai'

ANI
·3-min read
Odisha FC head coach Stuart Baxter (Photo/ Sportzpics)
Odisha FC head coach Stuart Baxter (Photo/ Sportzpics)

Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], December 5 (ANI): Odisha FC is all set to take on Mumbai City FC on Sunday at the GMC Stadium in their fourth game of the ongoing seventh edition of the Indian Super League (ISL). The Bhubaneswar-based club had a great run against the Islanders last season as they defeated them in both home and away games. Even the first win of the previous season had come against MCFC, then coached by Jorge Costa, in Mumbai.

Meanwhile, things have changed a lot for both the teams after that and in the pre-match press conference ahead of Sunday's game, Odisha head coach Stuart Baxter has also stated that past records will not have any impact when the two teams face each other. He also asserted that the Odisha FC boys will show their character when they come to the field.

"What's happened before last year is not really relevant now. It's a different coach, a different team and there are different players. We also have different players, different coach so it's a completely different fixture. History will not have any bearing on this game but we hope that when we get the full team on the field we can give a good game," Baxter said while answering the queries from the media.

When asked about their performance and playing style in the first three games, he replied, "The final third is about flank play, finishing and combination plays and we have been working on those. Our possession has not been of the best quality. We don't get enough bodies into the box for crosses or make runs around the box to move defenders for combination play.

"The possession has been better and when it is better, we will get the number of players forward that we need. We will start translating them into goals."

"If you looked at the ATK Mohun Bagan game what we needed was just a little bit of luck. We played well enough. We did enough to get a good result. If we didn't win at least, we should have got a 0-0. We did not get it and there are reasons for that. But we have got to translate those periods where we are better than our opponents. We have to translate those into strikes on goal and doing the things to win games of football. My boys will show their character when they step on the pitch tomorrow," the 67-year-old further added.

In one of their pre-season games, OFC had faced Mumbai City and coach Baxter has seen the playing style of Sergio Lobera's boys. Speaking on the same, he explained, "I think in the way they play, they open the field up. They make it big. They have got a couple of influential players who take it from the back and try to break your lines. Then they have people who are quite good on the ball. They don't lose the ball that often so, they don't get punished for being spread out.

"We don't want to park the bus, neither we will open ourselves up to their strengths. It is a question of managing the spaces and also at the same time getting enough players to becoming a threat. We don't want them to feel that they are on the front foot all the time, relaxing and enjoying. We want them to feel that if they stretch themselves then we can put them on the back foot quickly and we can also cause a problem for them." (ANI)