Bhubaneswar, March 28 (IANS) Mumbai City FCs season may have ended with a massive 2-5 defeat at the hands of FC Goa in the Indian Super League (ISL) semifinal, but the Islanders did have a good season in the group stage of the tournament where they had let in just 20 goals in 18 matches.
While goalkeeper Amrinder Singh played a crucial role to give Jorge Costa’s side a top-three finish, the India international believes that the entire back-four, led by captain Lucian Goian, worked together to make this a reality.
“Lucian Goian has been in the side for three years now. He understands the needs of the players in the dressing room,” Amrinder was quoted as saying by the official website of the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
“It’s very easy to communicate with him on the pitch, so we have a good understanding and can thwart attacks easily,” he added.
When asked how did a Romanian fit seamlessly into a back-four comprising three Indian defenders, Amrinder pointed at Goian’s massive interest in Indian culture and languages, which helped the defenders communicate amongst each other.
“He is so much invested in Indian culture now that he has started to pick up the language quite often. That helps a lot when we are in clutch situations on the pitch,” said Amrinder.
“He hangs out with me a lot off the field. So he has picked the Punjabi language through songs. It was a huge surprise for me when I first heard him singing along to a Punjabi song,” he added.
It is not just Punjabi that the Romanian has picked. Videos of Goian singing the “Jana Gana Mana” have gone viral this season.
“At the end of last season, Goian promised me that he would sing the Indian national anthem on the pitch one day, and he did it,” Amrinder said, adding: “It didn’t take him long. He kept his promise.”
The goalkeeper also praised the contribution of the three Indian defenders — Anwar Ali (Sr), Subhasish Bose and Souvik Chakraborty — who played a big role along with the Romanian.
Coming on the back of a good season in the ISL, Amrinder believes that the Islanders are “hungry” for success in the Hero Super Cup. He believes that the experience of head coach Jorge Costa, who had played for top European clubs like FC Porto, Charlton Athletic and Standard Liege, will bail them through.
“Our team has improved a lot after coach Jorge Costa took over at the start of the season. He was a big player back during his playing days. He also has the experience of playing and managing big games like in the UEFA Champions League. Under him, the team feels like a family,” Amrinder said.