Chennaiyin FC’s player-cum manager Marco Materazzi on Saturday made it pretty clear that he will not risk star player Elano Blumer, the highest goal scorer, striker John Stiven Mendoza and Gourmangi Singh in the key encounter against Mumbai City FC at the DY Patil on Sunday.
When quizzed about the possible replacements, Materazzi, a man of few words, preferred to keep his cards close to his chest.
“I cannot talk about our game plan, there are possibility that Peter (Mumbai City FC coach Peter Reid) might read about it in the newspapers. So, I prefer to speak about the strategy tomorrow after the game,” said Materazzi.
The 41-year-old insists that Chennaiyin are a ‘team first’.
“Elano, Mendoza and Mangi are important players but the team is more important. They won’t play tomorrow but the others deserve respect,” he added.
It will be a grudge match for Mumbai City FC as they were hammered 5-1 in Chennai.
But Materazzi is not taking the hosts lightly, he says, “We respect Mumbai. They are the best team in ISL but we are not the worst. Though we won our home game but tomorrow is a different day. We desperately need points to cement our place on top of the table.”
Speaking of the table, it is so cramped that Mumbai City’s assistant coach Steve Darby points out, “The points table is one of the tightest I have seen. If Delhi wins their three games then everything will change. No one is certain of winning. There are six teams that can win the league and there are seven teams that can get into the semi-finals.”