When you have just witnessed a season in which your manager has almost steered your beloved club to a title and at the same time done so with a nine-game unbeaten run, any fan would want that manager to commit his future to the cause.
And so, you can understand entirely the jubilant feeling among supporters of Mumbai City when coach Jorge Costa recently announced that he had extended his stay at the club after guiding his outfit into the play-off semi-finals of the 2018-19 campaign of the Indian Super League. And the delight keeps coming for City followers because the Portuguese tactician signalled his intent in the role by pledging to win the ISL crown next time of asking.
It almost goes without saying that Costa, who is aged 46, has impressed in his first season at City; those who watch his side play have taken note of just how exciting a brand of football he believes in, with a strong emphasis on counter-attacking once opponents’ attacks have broken down, for whatever reason.
The former Portugal central defender, who won a clutch of honours with Porto — including the Champion League and UEFA Cup — says he had little hesitation in extending his deal to remain as head honcho at the club.
He added: “Since my first day at this club, I’ve had a great experience with the management and all the staff. The organisation here at Mumbai City FC is thoroughly professional and has done everything to make my job easier and make me feel at home. We are not satisfied with stopping at the semi-finals, but are proud of the season we’ve had. Our fans have been a huge part of what we are as a club and they have been immense this season. I’m very happy that I can be in Mumbai next season, continue our good work and give our fans some great memories at the Mumbai Football Arena.”
As Mumbai head into the 2019 Super Cup competition, in which they face Chennaiyin FC, Costa says he expects skipper and fellow countryman Paulo Machado, Brazilian striker Rafael Bastos and Senegalese hitman Modou Sougou to be influential. And he does so also keen to emphasise how much he has been won over by the standard within the ISL.
He said: “We respect this Super Cup competition and we want to finish well this season. So, we are here to do our best. We will try to go as far as possible. We made a tremendous ISL season, better than good, and this is the most important thing.
“Sougou and Bastos have the experience in these situations and are working with the other players who would have learnt something. I respect all players and see football as a team sport. It took some time for me to understand and also make myself and players familiar to this new reality. I was surprised in a positive way about the quality of teams and players in the ISL.”