Mumbai City FC will look to make amends in the upcoming Hero Indian Super League (ISL) campaign after finishing outside the top four in the previous season.

The Islanders can take heart from their AFC Champions League campaign that saw them pick up two wins and finish second in their group as they showed signs of clicking as a unit under head coach Des Buckingham.

The Englishman took charge of the team just a few weeks before the start of the Hero ISL 2021-22 campaign and the team couldn’t quite function in his mould. However, having got the chance to have a full pre-season with the team and added some of the players that fit his style of play, Mumbai City FC are looking like a formidable force again.

Buckingham who will be hoping to mastermind a title challenge at Mumbai City FC this season joined up with host Suyash Upadhyaya and Hero ISL experts Anant Tyagi, Paul Masefield and Khuri Irani during the latest episode of the Let’s Football Live Twitter Spaces podcast as he discussed his team’s preparations, new signings and the historic AFC Champions League campaign.

Listen to the full podcast below:

Here are the excerpts from Des Buckingham’s conversation with Hero ISL experts on the Twitter Spaces podcast

On MCFC's AFC Champions League campaign

I think I'm just extremely proud of the way we approached the tournament in terms of going and playing a style of football which wasn't to go there and try not to lose it but to go there and try and showcase the style of football that firstly we as a club want to play. But secondly to allow the players we had on the field to really showcase their abilities as well because we know we have good players. We knew we weren't just representing Mumbai as a club. We knew we were representing Indian football.

We were capable of not just competing, but picking up results and finishing second in the group and picking up the points we did, but more so doing it in the manner and the way that we did. That was the happiest and probably the proudest moment I've had in my career so far.

On Mumbai City FC's Dubai camp and shorter off-season

Yeah, I think when I arrived here last year, I was late coming in and we were very late starting out pre-season because of that and we had players coming in from national teams and it was a little bit messy last year.

So the idea behind this year was to set out a real clear plan which is something we did at the end of Saudi Arabia. All the players were aware that we would be back in on this date and the club has moved very well.

Our first aim was to get fit together and secondly to prepare ourselves for not just the Durand Cup but the ISL season that will soon be upon us.

On signing Greg Stewart

Yeah, I think we started out the recruitment process quite early in the season, so halfway through the (last) season we didn't approach players, but we certainly dropped our strategy as to the type of football that we wanted to play and making sure that when we went on our recruitment both for any foreign players and domestic players, we approached players that we felt first would fit the environment.

Greg was at the top end of that list if not top of the list because of the performances that he'd consistently put in for Jamshedpur FC. So we waited of course until the season was finished, but we already had somebody like Greg. We had Alberto Noguera and Rostyn Griffiths.

We highlighted (them) very early on in the year. We didn't approach any of them during the season, but they were clear targets from an early stage and we worked with different people at the club to try and get them on and complement what was already a very good foreign base with Mourtada Fall and Ahmed Jahouh whose contracts were extended in January.

On Rowllin Borges

Rowllin will be almost like a new signing for us this season and to lose him last year as early as we did was a big loss for us. But to have someone of his ability coming back, not just on the field in terms of what he can offer to the football side of things, but Rowllin was also voted as one of the vice captains by his peers last year and so, although he wasn't able to take to the field, the work that he did in the background to work with not just the young players but also the Indian players was amazing.

And we certainly see that. And that was the reason we took Rowllin to Abu Dhabi for the Champions League. We knew he wasn't gonna be able to play, but the role he could play within the group is quite significant.

He should be fit for this first game of the Durand Cup, whether he's ready to play will be a different story. He's now back on the field, you'll be pleased to hear and he's now back involved in the training sessions.