Fit and firing again, Mumbai City striker Modou Sougou says he is feeling in good shape as his team look to earn their place in the 2019-’20 Indian Super League playoffs and cut the gap with leaders FC Goa.
The Senegalese striker, who finished as the second-highest joint-scorer in the previous campaign alongside Bartholomew Ogbeche with 12 goals, had gone on a seven-match goalless run in the ongoing season after being shunted out to the flanks. The former Olympique Marseille player snapped that streak with a brace against Hyderabad FC last week and believed he was in good rhythm as the ISL enters the business end.
“The team is more important than one individual. We are like a family,” Sougou said at the pre-match press conference ahead of Mumbai City’s clash against ATK. “The start of the season was bad for me because I had some physical problems but now I am really fit and feeling very good. I am enjoying my football. I feel confident,” he added.
New signing Amine Chermiti has been playing upfront with Arnold Issoko’s departure, forcing Sougou out wide on the right. Mumbai City manager Jorge Costa said he was satisfied with Sougou’s work rate despite his barren run.
“I was happy with him even if he was not scoring. This is the most important - when I have players who change positions, so its difficult to score so many goals like last season but he is available to help the team. This is the image of my time and the belief that they want to do the things I ask them,” the Portuguese said.
‘Balance of the team important’
Sougou shares a cordial relationship with Costa, dating back to their days at Portuguese club Associacao Académica de Coimbra in 2010. A year later, the duo reunited at CFR Cluj in Romania before Costa convinced the striker to join him at Mumbai City.
“He [Costa] is the chef, he’s responsible for where he wants me to play. If he tells me to play as a midfielder, I will do it. This is not the first time I’ve worked with him. We have some communication and with my experience, he doesn’t need to tell me much,” the Senegalese stated.
Sougou admitted he desired the no 9 role but is open to playing anywhere as per Costa’s demands.
“I know he puts me on the right but because of the team balance. Last season, we had Arnold, but now it is different. We have two strikers – me and Amine but he cannot play winger. This is our reality. I prefer to be inside than outside [out wide]. I can score fewer goals but if we finish champions, I’ll be the happiest. I am a winner, it’s in my blood,” Sougou mentioned.