Nicolas Anelka, Mumbai City FC's marquee player-manager, has insisted that he might not return for a third season in the Indian Super League (ISL), after his team extended their win-less streak to six matches with a disappointing 1-1 draw against Kerala Blasters at Mumbai on Friday.
“I don’t think I will come back. You have to speak to the team management. The target was to reach the top four and that was not respected. So I don’t think so. As player maybe, I don’t know,” Anelka said in the post-match press conference.
Mumbai have managed to win only three of their 12 matches so far in the league and are on the verge of another league-stage exit. After their disappointing campaign in the inaugural season, Mumbai invested a lot of money in rebuilding their squad this summer and a place in the semi-final was the minimum expectation from this team.
But the Blue Devils are now four points behind fourth-placed NorthEast United, with just two matches to play, and will need a miracle to make it through to the next stage of the competition.
Anelka, who has previously criticized the lack of character in his team, expressed his disappointment at the late goal they conceded against Kerala last night. He said, “When you score a goal and are ahead of your opposite team, you should hold on keeping it 1-0. Unfortunately it was like the Delhi (Dynamos) game where we conceded a last minute goal. It's important to get the result especially when you play at home. As I said last time, we have to show more desire but given the performance, we deserve the result and were not good enough to get the three points today.”
The former Real Madrid striker felt that his team provided Kerala with too much time and space on the ball in the second half, which eventually led to the draw.
“I think in the first half we created chances and scored a goal. The game was good. We could have done better in the first half but it is always good when you come back in the dressing room leading by a goal. Things changed in the second half, it was not like the first half. We dropped back and gave space to them and conceded a goal. The game is not 45 minutes, the game is 90 minutes, so it was not good enough,” he added.