Pep Guardiola, the manager of English Premier League heavyweights Manchester City, has congratulated Mumbai City FC for finishing on top of the points table in the league stages of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2020-21. In the process, the City Football Group (CFG) backed club booked a place in next season’s AFC Champions League.
The former Barcelona boss, who is currently on course to win his third Premier League title with the Citizens, heaped praise on Sergio Lobera’s men on their ‘incredible success’. Speaking during the pre-match press conference ahead of his side’s game against Wolverhampton Wanderers, Guardiola was asked to comment on Manchester City’s sister club and the Spaniard duly obliged. “It is part of the CFG family. (It is an) Incredible success. Now comes the playoffs. Hopefully, they can do well. Congratulations to all the people, the coach Sergio Lobera and especially the players. Every league is tricky and when you win it is well-deserved,” the two-time UEFA Champions League winner said.
The Islanders sealed the top spot with a 2-0 victory over ATK Mohun Bagan on the final matchday of the league stages on Sunday. Goals from Mourtada Fall and Bartholomew Ogbeche were enough for them to see out the match which they needed to win to have any chance of finishing top. They become the second team ever to win the League Winners Shield following FC Goa’s triumph last season.
Ironically, as many as five players from last year’s Shield-winning FC Goa side are a part of this Mumbai City outfit. Mandar Rao, Ahmed Jahouh, Mourtada Fall, Jackichand Singh and Hugo Boumous all played a part in the Gaurs’ successful campaign last term and have followed head coach Lobera to the Islanders’ camp as part of a squad overhaul after CFG purchased a majority 65 per cent stake in the club.