Margao (Goa), March 13 (IANS) Mumbai City coach Sergio Lobera credited the quality of the Indian players in his team after they won their maiden Indian Super League (ISL) title on Saturday.
Mumbai beat ATK Mohun Bagan 2-1 in the final, thanks to a late goal from 26-year-old winger Bipin Singh.
“The level of Indian players is key to win trophies because you are playing with six Indians in the first eleven. Bipin has had an amazing season but when the team is working well it becomes possible for individuals to shine,” said Lobera in the post-match press conference.
“It is not just about one or two players there were many who have put in a big effort throughout the season. Whether with or without opportunities, the players have always been smiling and keeping a positive attitude. I am very happy because everyone deserves this trophy,” said the Spaniard.
Mumbai also won the League Winners’ Shield this season, thus becoming only the second team to finish top of the table in the league stage and win the final in the same season.
“It’s not about the coach. To win trophies you need to have good players, staff and club. I am very happy. It is not easy to win two trophies in the same season. We made history with the club,” 44-year-old Lobera said.
“From beginning to end it was a challenge, the bubble, very short season, very little time between the games. (It was difficult) for everyone, not just Mumbai City. Finally after being done with the trophy and you look back you feel very happy because you see the big effort that everyone put in,” he observed.
This was Lobera’s first season with Mumbai, as well as his first season for the club under its new owners the City Football Group, the holding company for multiple clubs around the world including, and most prominently, six-time Premier League champions Manchester City.
Mumbai qualified for the group stage of the 2022 AFC Champions League by finishing top of the table in the league stage.
“The club is a big project. In the first meeting I had in Manchester I felt that this is a big and amazing project. When you are in such a project the future is always great. I am very happy because the club deserves to enjoy the moment and hopefully we can repeat this. It is not easy to win two trophies in the same season but we have to try,” said Lobera.
“From beginning to end it was a challenge, the bubble, very short season, very little time between the games. (It was difficult) for everyone, not just Mumbai City. Finally, after being done with the trophy and you look back you feel very happy because you see the big effort that everyone put in,” he pointed out.