EXCLUSIVE: ‘We are Not Favourites’ Alberto Noguera claims Mariners have advantage in ISL Shield decider

EXCLUSIVE: ‘We are Not Favourites’ Alberto Noguera claims Mariners have advantage in ISL Shield decider

Alberto Noguera claims Mohun Bagan Super Giant are favourites to win ISL Shield 2024 over Mumbai City FC

The stage is set for the much anticipated ISL Shield Decider. Mohun Bagan Super Giant will take on Mumbai City FC at the iconic Salt Lake Stadium as a winner-takes-all. Ahead of this nail-biting encounter, star Mumbai City FC midfielder Alberto Noguera has informed InsideSport in an exclusive interview that they are not the favourites for the tie.

It is a befitting end to the campaign as the two best teams of the league fight against each other for the coveted Shield spot. Mumbai however have the upper hand as they have a 2 points advantage over the Mariners. As a result, a win will be enough for the Islanders to win the shield.

Not An Easy Campaign So Far

14 wins, 5 draws, and 2 losses is what Mumbai City FC has achieved in their 21 games. But it has not been a downright domination from the Men in Blue. Despite good performances, Mumbai City FC is yet to win a single trophy this season. The Durand Cup went to Mohun Bagan while East Bengal took the Super Cup.

It wasn’t easy. It was actually a very tough season for us, with a lot of changes, with, many problems. But, so far, we are doing well. It is true that we didn’t win anything yet, and there are some important matches, in front of us, and we are focusing on that. I think, so far, we are doing well, but we need to finish the work,” Alberto Noguera told InsideSport.

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The team underwent a managerial change in December as Des Buckingham went to coach Oxford United. Coupled with that, important players like Greg Stewart bid goodbye to the club. On came Petr Kratky and he did wonders. With a few good signings, Mumbai City was back to doing what they do best – winning games comfortably.

But the team gelled well under the new manager. Noguera went on to explain how Petr didn’t try to make a lot of random changes. The only change – pushing everyone harder to perform even better.

Mohun Bagan vs Mumbai City FC, ISL Shield - Alberto Noguera claims Mohun Bagan Super Giant are favourites to win ISL Shield 2024

“I think, he (Petr) tried, not to change much, because we are under the group philosophy. He has pushed the players a bit harder. He’s more passionate. He’s doing a really good work with the young players, with all the players in the squad. We just try to adapt for what the every coach asks,” the Spanish midfielder added.

“We are Not the Favourites, Mohun Bagan are”

Alberto Noguera has straight away claimed that they are not the favourites to win the game. He spoke highly about Mohun Bagan and how the team has been built to win everything. He also further added how the crowd will play a huge importance in the game.

We are not the favourites. They are playing at home, with the support of so many fans. Actually, they are built to win everything. It’s true that the draw is enough for us, but we need to, think about winning,” pipped Noguera.

We are going there, try to get the 3 points. But, I don’t think that we are favourites. It’s a final. So there’s no favouritism in these kind of games. But we are going there with everything we got and, trying to get the points. Anything can happen, and the mood is good. I think, the team is ready. We are working, very hard, and we’ll see what happen.”

“So I think, they are playing with 12 players (fans are the 12th men) because with so many people in the stands, supporting them. We are there alone. So I hope that maybe some Mumbai fans can join us, but it will be difficult. So I don’t think that we have that advantage,” Noguera added.

‘We will Let them Cook’ – Mumbai Ready for Final Showdown

Mumbai City has been extremely vindictive in its attacks. They have scored 41 goals in the campaign so far, which is second-best after Mohun Bagan’s 45 goals. But on the other hand, they have conceded the least, 17 goals so far in the campaign. Most importantly, their front three have been on fire lately.

I don’t think Vikram Pratap is playing the next game because he’s suspended. But, whoever is going to play, I’m sure they can do very well as well. I think we have a very good squad, not just them (Chhangte & Vikram), like, all the young players, they can show that they are quality players. They are playing more than the others, and they are doing very well, so we will let them cook,” a smiling Noguera added.

Be it young Vikram Pratap Singh, Lallianzuala Chhangte or Jorge Pereyra Díaz. Both the Indian forwards have gone on to register 10+ goal contributions (Goals + Assists). Pereyra Díaz on the other hand has 8 goals in just 14 games this season. This proves that Mumbai is ready to goal all guns blazing against the Mariners in the epic showdown clash.

Mohun Bagan vs Mumbai City FC, ISL Shield - Alberto Noguera claims Mohun Bagan Super Giant are favourites to win ISL Shield 2024

“Jorge is more than a teammate. Jorge is a friend. So for us, it’s easier to play together because, we speak the same language. I think the chemistry is, really good between us. And, Jorge is one of the best striker in the league, so it’s always easier to play with these kind of players. So, hopefully, he can, keep this form, scoring goals, and, we hope the best for him, and, hopefully, we can keep playing together.”

“I’m here to help in any way I can. If I can score off, I will. I’m just one more player, with the same ambition like, all the young players. Like I said many times, I’m here to help. I’m here to improve a lot,” Alberto Noguera concluded.

Mohun Bagan will take on Mumbai City FC in the ISL decider on 15th April at the Salt Lake Stadium.

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