"We want to be competitive and strong. We want to be a team that fights and does not give up," said NEUFC coach Gerard Nus.
The Highlanders have managed to qualify for the play-offs just once in the last six seasons and are currently on a 14-match winless streak --- six draws and eight losses -- from previous season. Their opening fixture of the new season wouldn't be an easy affair.
"We know about the strengths they [Mumbai] have assembled. We need to put more attention on ourselves and will take it one game at a time," said Gerard Nus.
Meanwhile, Mumbai City will be looking for signs that they are ready to mount a sustained challenge for their first piece of silverware.
"This will be a difficult game. This will be the most competitive season as there are many good teams. I am working hard with my players. At the end of the season, our fans should be happy with our performances," said Lobera, who was the backbone of FC Goa's meteoric rise in ISL over last three years, but now wears the sky blue colours of Mumbai City.
"We play attacking football. In this scenario, it's not easy working in such a short span. It's a challenge and we need to adapt to different circumstances," stated the 43-year-old, who credited the club and its owners City Football Group for providing the team with the best facilities in the bio-bubble.
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