Mumbai City FC head coach Des Buckingham expressed that the team is focused on a very challenging game against Kerala Blasters FC as the Islanders take on the Yellow Army in the latest fixture of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 at the Mumbai Football Arena in Mumbai on Sunday.

Mumbai City FC would be looking to reclaim their top spot in the Hero ISL points table with a victory. Meanwhile, Ivan Vukomanovic’s men would be looking to continue their unbeaten run and avoid the second defeat of the season against Mumbai City FC.

It's a clash of two unbeaten streaks at the Mumbai Football Arena as the home team have been unbeaten since the start of the season (12) and Ivan Vukomanovic's side have been unbeaten since they lost to Des Buckingham's men in the reverse fixture in matchweek 4.

Buckingham expressed that they (the team) don't pay attention to the streaks and will focus on the game.

"No, we don't look at the opposition too much in terms of streaks, the same way we don't look at our own winning streak. I've spoken about making sure that we just focus on our game and preparing ourselves as well as we can to face what will be a very tough and challenging Kerala Blasters FC side. We are playing some good football as well. So I'm expecting it's a very good game again with two good teams trying to play exciting football, and I hope it showcases in the stadium for everybody," Buckingham said during the pre-match press conference.

Since losing to Mumbai City FC at home, the Yellow Army have been flying high and a run of seven victories and one draw has helped them leave behind the disappointment of losing three of first four matches behind.

The Englishman talked about how Ivan Vukomanovic, Manolo Marquez and himself, are the only three coaches who have remained with their respective teams from last season and how crucial consistency is for the team to learn.

"I think they are a wonderful side. I think, you know, there's only Ivan, Manolo and myself that have remained with the same team for the second consecutive season. And I think what you certainly get with that is consistency, with players getting used to the kind of coach and how the coach wants to play," he said.

"I think Kerala Blasters FC are better since we last played them. But I'd say we are better than when we last played them as well. So, like I think they've got a wonderful coach in Ivan (Vukomanovic) I think they're a very good team. They've recruited again very well. And they've played some good football in the last couple of games, but we'll do as much as we can to prepare ourselves to also try and be successful for the game," he added.

Buckingham was accompanied by defender Rahul Bheke in the pre-match conference. Bheke has started every match this season and has helped the team keep four clean sheets and lead an impeccable defence to help the team stay undefeated throughout t

"I think it is really important for me as a senior or as a captain to keep motivating them. Keep guiding them in the right direction. So that's what I've been doing and helping them." Bheke said when talking about being an influential figure for the young players in the squad.

Mumbai City FC fans would be looking to fill the stadium and impose themselves on the travelling Kerala Blasters FC and the famous Yellow Army would be bringing the away support in the much-needed fixture for the playoffs spot run.

"The message will be the same, we need them in large numbers to support the team. We need them in the stands. They're like our 12th man, so that gives us the boost, the energy on the field to perform well and that's why we need them you know that there will be Kerala Blasters FC fans in the stands as well so we need Mumbai City FC's fans as well. It's a weekend so looking forward to seeing them and playing in front of them," said Bheke.

Rahul Bheke talked about the impact and change head coach Des Buckingham has brought in the team and the club as well. Bheke hoped that the club would continue to grow under Buckingham's guidance.

"I think from the time of the coach's arrival last season, the whole team has been growing and doing better. We have seen that in the Champions League (AFC) then Durand Cup and now this seaso and I'm sure that continuity will be there. I'm sure the fans, team, each and everyone wants the club to grow and I'm sure he will do that. We all want to see that growth," he concluded.