Important to show consistency over longer periods: Mumbai City FC head coach Des Buckingham

Mumbai City FC head coach Des Buckingham stressed on the need to perform consistently over a long period of time to be successful ahead of their match against Bengaluru FC in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 at the Athletic Stadium, in Bambolim.

Having started their Hero ISL campaign with an inspiring 3-0 win over FC Goa, the Islanders suffered an unexpected 1-3 loss to Hyderabad FC in the following game. However, they staged a great comeback with a dominant 5-1 win over ATK Mohun Bagan in the following game.

Buckingham addressed the media in the pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s game.

Here are the excerpts from the press conference:

From facing one powerhouse ATK Mohun Bagan in the previous game to playing Bengaluru FC in the next one, have you changed any strategy?

Buckingham: We've had a pretty hard start to our season. Because of the short turnaround between games, we find ourselves playing three days after the last one. And, the players have pulled up very well. So we've got all players available to us again for this next game. We haven't changed our approach to how we would approach this one. We're expecting another tough game, but again, we'll prepare as well as we need to to be ready for it.

Have you implemented any specific resilience drills for keeping the players in shape?

Buckingham: Resilience drill is now very much about trying to manage the group. So, (when) the players reported to us at the end before the start of the season, they were in very good physical shape. But again, that doesn't transition onto match fitness and sharpness in terms of physical preparation.

So we've spent a lot of time and effort working with them to try and get them up to the fitness levels that we think we need and the players have adapted to that very well. So it's been more about recovery the last couple of days in between these short turnarounds.

After the results of the first three games, are you with the players and the level they are playing?

Buckingham: Well, I would like to see more of us in possession. I would like to see us be more consistent in the way we want to play. I've seen glimpses of it in the first game and I've seen a lot more consistency in the second and then the large parts of the first half in the last game.

So, for me now, it's about trying to show that consistency over longer periods of time. And that's not just with the ball, that's also without the ball. So we're happy. I'm happy enough for the players to show with the time frame that we've had with them what they have shown. But there's still a lot of work to do.

Mumbai City FC side-back Amey Ranawade was also present at the press conference and addressed to questions put forward:

How have you adapted to the new playing style of the new coach?

Ranawade: I guess both of them (coaches) have the same philosophy, which is the way the City group plays football. And, you know, it was not quite hard for me, and I'm still in the learning process of becoming better game by game.

What went through the players’ minds after the loss to Hyderabad FC that helped Mumbai City FC to bounce back against ATK Mohun Bagan?

Ranawade: I think that that is where the champions mentality comes in and that is what we had last season also, and which helped us win the trophy. And, winning and losing is a part of the game. But what champions do is comeback, how strongly we come back, and that is what we showed in the last match.

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