Kolkata: Stranded in flood-hit Chennai for two days after already crashing out of the Indian Super League, Mumbai City FC were focused on ending the season on a high against table toppers and defending champions Atletico de Kolkata.
MCFC rode on a brace by Sony Norde to down ATK 3-2 in an exciting finish for their first away win of the season as coach Nicolas Anelka praised the team for showing fighting spirit.
"We lost the game in Chennai but we always wanted to show the desire to win. Everybody was focused on the game, we wanted to win, against Kolkata who're at the top of the table. I told the team it has to be either three points or one but not zero," Anelka told reporters after their win.
"The boys wanted to play. Today was a special day. That's why we came here. We came here to play football, and we played without pressure. We deserved to win. I'm very proud. It's our first win away from home," the Frenchman said.
Anelka however said it's disappointing for not being able to qualify for the last four.
"It's a shame, we could have done a lot better. Sometime you win sometime you lose, maybe we will do well next season. But it's good to finish on a win which may be a starting point me for next season."
The former Chelsea and Real Madrid star however said he's yet to take a call about his future next season with MCFC.
"I don't know yet. I just want to enjoy today. We made history. I have time to think about the rest."
Blaming the loss on 'external distractions', ATK coach Antonio Habas said one should not read too much into their loss in the concluding league round match.
With ATK already having made the semis, Anelka said it would be a different ball game in the knockout stage.
"It will be absolutely different in the semifinal. Today it was a different day the boys did not have 100 per cent intensity. There was too much of external distractions having qualified to the semis with a game in hand."
Habas also said he opted for an experimental side and did not risk their star defender Ofentse Nato as the Botswana International had already picked three yellow cards.
"Nato had three yellow cards so we didn't risk him. Mumbai on the other hand played without any pressure."