Mandar, Bheke gear up for a competitive season, Coyle upbeat about new arrivals in the latest Football United Episode

Every club’s preparations are in full swing ahead of the eighth edition of the Hero Indian Super League, and with the host of new arrivals, managerial changes and a longer pre-season, one can anticipate the competition to be thrilling from matchday one itself.

Anant Tyagi and Maurya Mondal caught up with Mandar Rao Desai, Rahul Bheke and Owen Coyle to get their views on the upcoming season, in the latest episode of Football United.

Mumbai City FC will look to defend their title this season, with new gaffer Des Buckingham at the helm of affairs. Talking about the impact the former Melbourne City coach has had thus far, Mandar said, “He has been telling me about using the same style as we used to play with Sergio, so it’s almost the same, and as Rahul (Bheke) said, he has his own plans, too, so we are trying to adapt to his plans as soon as possible”

Defender Rahul Bheke was one of the summer acquisitions made by the Islanders, and owing to the talent at the club, the Indian national player is expected to fight for a spot in the starting lineup. “It’s been challenging for me throughout my career, and I think every season, whether it’s my new team or the team where I was before, it’s always challenging because you never know whether you’ll play or not. So you have to push hard to get your position(in the team),” he quipped.

Meanwhile, the Jamshedpur FC head coach Owen Coyle seemed upbeat about discussing his club’s activity in the transfer market prior to the commencement of the season. The Men of Steel have signed several impressive domestic players, and Coyle acknowledges the quality that has been added to the squad this season, as he remarked, “I've really enjoyed working with them to this point. They’ve come in, they’re young, they’re energetic, they have pace and they will get the opportunity.”

Although he was praising his domestic contingent extensively, Coyle exuded a sense of delight in his foreign acquisitions too, as he said, “I’m not happy (with the foreign signings), I’m absolutely delighted with them. To get them first and foremost, we had to work very hard.”

“Eli Sabia is one of the best defenders in the league, and will complement Peter Hartley immensely. Alex Lima has looked like a new player in the preseason. You mentioned Greg Stewart coming in and obviously the strikers in Jordan Murray and Nerijus Valskis too. The biggest challenge I'm going to have is actually just starting four of the six foreigners,” added Coyle.

Jamshedpur FC kick off their Hero Indian Super League campaign on 21st November against SC East Bengal while Mumbai City FC face FC Goa on 22nd November for their first game.

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