It's a game that we're looking forward to: Buckingham on Mumbai City FC facing Odisha FC
Mumbai City FC head coach Des Buckingham stated that he and his team are looking forward to playing against Odisha FC on Thursday.
Mumbai City FC head coach Des Buckingham stated that he and his team are looking forward to playing against Odisha FC in their Indian Super League (ISL) clash at the Kalinga Stadium, in Bhubaneswar, on Thursday.
Speaking at the pre-match press conference, the Englishman called for his side to continue the good work that they have been doing since the start of pre-season.
"We have just come off the back end of our first game in ISL against a very good NorthEast (United FC) team and now it is about making sure we continue on the good work that we have done since the start of pre-season and build upon what we did last year," Buckingham said.
"It's a game that we are looking forward to against a tough Odisha FC team, but we have done as much as we can to be prepared for the game."
Mumbai City FC will face former head coach Sergio Lobera, who is now incharge of Odisha FC. Players such as Ahmed Jahouh and Mourtada Fall, who played a big role in the Islanders' League Shield triumph last season, have now representing the Kalinga Warriors.
Buckingham feels that facing familiar faces on the opposite dugout won't have a big effect on his team. He said that Mumbai City FC's playing style and their preparation for the upcoming game were important ahead of crunch matches like this one.
"It's not just Sergio (Lobera), Amrinder (Singh) also used to play here (at Odisha FC), Amey (Ranawade) at right back, (Mourtada) Fall, (Ahmed) Jahouh, Cy Goddard, Diego (Mauricio). They are all players that we are familiar with and we have worked with. So yes, that brings a level of familiarity. For me, it does not matter. We come up against good coaches and good players every week in the ISL, (which) we have done for the two years that I have been here. So it does not change what we do regardless of who the coach and players are. The most important thing is how we prepare ourselves as well as we can to play the football that we want to play whilst also getting ourselves as prepared as we can for what we think we might expect."
Speaking about the way that his team are preparing to face Odisha FC, Buckingham said that being fresh and fit during the game is the most important objective of their training.
"We have managed to be here in Odisha for the last two days, we trained yesterday and we will train again today so it is now about making sure that we feel the fittest and freshest team and play the football that we want," he said.
Shedding some light on Mehtab Singh's fitness, the Englishman said that there is nothing to worry about as the defender will train with the team on Wednesday and will be assessed by the medical team after that. Buckingham further said that there are no injury concerns with the squad and that everybody has travelled with the team to Odisha.
"Mehtab is with us. He will train with us so we will see what that looks like. He is fit and available if selected," he revealed.
Mumbai City FC player Rahul Bheke accompanied Des Buckingham in the pre-match press conference. Speaking on the atmosphere of the team ahead of the match against Odisha FC, the defender said that squad is positive about the upcoming game.
"The atmosphere has been good. We got a good start for the first day of the season. We are looking forward to the second game which is another away game for us so it is important for us to get as much(many) points as we can get from this fixture," Bheke stated.
On playing familiar foes, the 32-year-old defender feels that both the teams have an advantage since they are familiar with each other's playing styles. However, Bheke said that his team need to focus on their own performance to beat a strong Odisha FC side.
"It is an advantage for both the teams because we know each other well. We have been playing for the last two years together at Mumbai so it is an advantage, but both the teams want to win. We are here to get the three points so we will focus more on how we want to play, how we have to perform as a team against this (their) strong side and get the three points," Bheke signed off.