Happy with our start to the season: Mumbai City FC’s Des Buckingham

Mumbai City FC head coach Des Buckingham was happy with his team’s performance and felt his team was close to getting all three points against Jamshedpur FC at the Mumbai Football Arena on Saturday.

Mumbai drew 1-1 with Jamshedpur FC after early goals from Lalianzualla Chhangte and Daniel Chima Chukwu to remain unbeaten after three games but they have drawn two of those matches.

Match Report: Jamshedpur FC neutralise Stewart threat to claim a point against Mumbai City FC

Buckingham though felt if the Islanders can maintain the level of performance, his team will eventually pick up more points than what they have done so far.

The Englishman spoke to the media after the match.

Here are the excerpts from the post-match press conference:

Were you disappointed in the manner in which you conceded the first goal?

I think when you look back at the game I didn't think they had too many chances. I'll need to watch the game back but the goal they scored came from a long throw-in and a flick-on that we didn't pick up. For 93 minutes of the game, we defended very well. For a moment we switched off and they capitalised on it. That's their area of strength, something that we were aware of with the height of their players. So we are disappointed, but in the first fifteen minutes of the game when the goal went in, we were very good. We chucked the kitchen sink at them for the rest of the game, especially in the second half and credit to Jamshedpur FC that they dealt very well. We leave from here being three games unbeaten and travel to Kerala looking forward to the game there.

How do you rate your start of the season?

I am happy. Our first three games were against the champions Hyderabad FC and league winners Jamshedpur FC. We have remained unbeaten in these three games and picked up five points in those games. We are still experimenting with the way we want to play. If we play that way in the remaining games, we will come away with more points than what we have now. I was pleased with the second half, even though we haven't got the second goal, we kept at it and we should continue that way.

Did you miss Mourtada Fall today, especially against the physicality of their forwards?

We approach games differently. We have the option of having height at the back but then we would have lost either Noguera or Stewart or Diaz upfront maybe even Jahouh. Especially at home, we want to attack teams. We can start and we will start at some points with two foreign centre-backs if we need to but today was about trying to attack and coming away with all three points we have to settle with one and now we get ready for Kerala Blasters FC.

Did you expect Jamshedpur FC to play the way they did today?

We knew that they had kept the core group from last year. They obviously had lost a couple of players but they like us retained their core group of players. They were very effective in how they played. They won the league that way last year. They are a very aggressive team, they are very clever in the way they set up defensively. They make it difficult for the opponents.

But my job is to recruit our players and if steams do set up against us, we have different ways to try and break them down as we know that not every team is going to open up and try and press us. We found different ways through them but we didn't get the goal that would give us three points. I am happy with the players that we have. We have to unlock these types of games this season.

Gurkirat Singh impressed in the AFC U-20 championships. Can we see him start more games in the future?

I gave Gurkirat his debut very early last year. He is a very talented young man. He was behind Igor Angulo last year and this year he has Greg Stewart and Jorge Diaz to learn from and playoff. He has sworked extremely hard on his game and he is understanding how we want to play and how we want him to play in our system. He played in the AFC Champions League and we played him in five out of the six games in the Durand Cup. We have a lot of trust in him. We hope for him to have a good season with us just like how Vikram did for us last season. We are giving him time so that they have the ability to stay in when they get a chance to be in the team.

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