Mumbai: Mumbai City FC's assistant coach Steve Darby spoke about his team's safety first approach as they want to stem the rot first by avpiding defeat when they take on FC Goa in an 8th round encounter of the Indian Super League, here on Monday.
"The first thing on our minds after we lost 1-5 (to Chennayin FC ) was to stop losing. Players don't like being beaten which upsets their morale. So the first thing was to stop being beaten," said Darby about his team's goalless draws in the previous two away games against Goa and Kerala Blasters.
He also pointed out that games have become closer now in the middle phase of the tournament after a plethora of goals earlier on.
"The league has also matured. When you see the Bundesliga etc there are not big scores and I think it's happening now. Most of the scores are tight, which is real football," he said.
"We go for a win in every game. We don't give anything away. We have people like (Nicolas) Anelka and perhaps (Andre) Moritz who can score. Our aim is to stop others from scoring against us and hope we can get goals.
"In the last game, we did not have many shots and there was one great shot by him (Tiago Ribeiro who was sitting alongside) which David James (Blasters goalkeeper) save. It could have been the match-winner. Basically, we have not missed many chances, but we have not made many either," he conceded.
About tomorrow's crucial second leg game against Goa, he said that Sweden's Fredrik Ljungberg, who has started training with the team after suffering a serious hamstring injury earlier in the league, will not play.
"I can categorically say Freddie is not playing, he's not ready yet. The 26 others are available (to play)," he said.
He also rued the absence of a good training ground for all the teams, while adding that they simply did not exist in the country.
"We don't have a great training ground. It's easier to teach defending than shooting. I don't have anyone (team) has in the league (affecting the quality of finishing).
"This ground (D Y Patil Stadium turf) is great but it takes a lot of time to reach here? 5 hours travelling up and down. It's not perfect. But it's not anyone's fault. If they (training grounds) don't exist, they don't exist.?
Darby, who has coached Kolkata's I-League club Mohun Bagan and is well-versed about the facilities in that league, wished that a via media be found to integrate the new ISL with the country's main I-League.
"The pitches have been fantastic barring Salt Lake (artificial turf), but they are going for a change. The organization has been top class and volume of media coverage is great. This is what footballers want.
"The crowds have been fantastic and knowledgeable. (But) we don't want I-league to die it's 'The League', but if they can amalgamate and complement each other it will be great."