I’m convinced we can get the desired results in the second part of the season: Mumbai City FC’s Des Buckingham

Mumbai City FC head coach Des Buckingham has confidence in his team and believes that they’re still in a strong position to conclude the season in the best way possible, as his side takes on Jamshedpur FC in matchday 67 of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 season on Friday at the Athletic Stadium in Bambolim, Goa.

Buckingham revealed that his team has been putting in the hours and is pleased with the points they’ve collected in their run of 11 games. The Islanders bested Jamshedpur FC in a 4-2 win in the reverse fixture in the first half of the season, and Buckingham will be keen to end his side’s five-game winless run with a league double over Jamshedpur FC.

Ahead of the game against Jamshedpur FC, Buckingham spoke to the media during a pre-match press conference.

Here are the excerpts from the coach’s press conference:

Mumbai City FC had more days off than usual. So, how do you prepare at this time, is it an advantage or a disadvantage?

Yes, we've had a couple of days after we were due to just get on the bus before the last game before we got the call that the game was going to be off. So, we've done as much work with the players as we could at the hotel, which they worked extremely hard on because they needed a bit of a release they were expecting to play.

We’ve stuck to our schedule, obviously, expecting the game on Friday, and have spoken to the players about being consistent in our approach to what we do and that’s what we’ve tried to do here.

Jamshedpur FC have 19 points in 11 games. What are your thoughts on the match-up against them?

Expecting a good game again. You know, the last time we played, we got off to a very sharp start and went 3-0 up and the game finished 4-2. But they work extremely hard, they have some incredibly talented players in their squad, and they’re coached by a fantastic coach in Owen Coyle. So, we’re very much aware of their threats and the way they want to play. But as I always say, we’ll go back to how we approach the game. We need to prepare our players for what we think we may face tomorrow.

The team has been showing signs of getting better. So, do you want to alter anything or stick to the plan just like you have been doing so far?

Yes, I think we were in a good place where just over halfway point in the season with 11 games played and nine to go with three points off of top in, amongst the very congested league table, where everyone has shown this year how strong the league is and how capable any team in this league is of picking up results off each other.

So, the key is making sure we’re in a strong spot and I think we are, as I said, three points off the top with nine games to go and that’s been important to us. Now, it’s about the reaction and making sure that we can approach the next nine games the way we want to make sure we finish the season as strong as we can.

What is more important to you: your footballing ideology or the results when you see your team play?

In professional football, people will always look at the external results because the external results are obviously the scoreline and they’re the things that give you the points on the table, you know, what I’ve been pleased with is the points on the table and where we sit right now, so we’re in a strong position.

And then in terms of our playing style, we tried to change and evolve the playing style and you know, we got off to a great start with that, the first five out of six games where we've got wins in. And yes, we played some good football the same way in the last four or five games. I feel we have played some good stuff, but sometimes it's not as easy as to get the desired outcome and it's more a learning process for the players and learning sometimes takes some time.

But what's been pleasing is, whilst that learning is happening, we've still put ourselves in a strong position and I'm convinced that we're not far away from making sure that we get both performance and the result that will kick us onto the second part of the season.

The game against Kerala Blasters FC was called off at the last moment. So, how was the mood in the camp after all the built-up anticipation that the team was going to play but didn’t get to play?

The team was about to board the bus when we got the phone call to say that the game is going to be called off. So, you know, the players, same as the staff, we would rather play games than train. So, it's making sure that the players were informed the same time we were and that was the most important thing.

So, we got the team together and our strengthening and conditioning coach, Danny Deigan, brought on a very good physical session and it turned out to be a bit of competition between the players. They paired them up and there was a bit of scoreboard going and they certainly got their relief. They worked extremely hard, and it actually became an enjoyable, hard-working session that allowed us to still have the day off afterwards and we now focus on [the] Jamshedpur [game].

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