Need consistency in performances to achieve the desired results: Mumbai City FC’s Des Buckingham
Mumbai City FC head coach Des Buckingham believes that the game against Kerala Blasters FC is the perfect opportunity for his team to set the momentum going for the second half of the season, as his team prepares for redemption against the Blasters in matchday 62 of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 season, on Sunday at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco, Goa.
Buckingham stated that his team can get back on track with the game against Kerala Blasters FC and have the potential to beat them this time around. The Ivan Vukomanovic-led side put an end to Mumbai City FC’s winning streak of four games with a 3-0 win in the reverse fixture. Since then, Mumbai City FC have been winless for five games.
Ahead of the game against Kerala Blasters FC, the Mumbai City FC gaffer along with striker Igor Angulo spoke to the media during a pre-match press conference.
Here are the excerpts from Buckingham’s press conference:
How do you prepare for the match against Kerala Blasters FC on Sunday?
Buckingham: I am looking at where we are right now, we sit third on the table and we sit three points behind Kerala, so nine games to go. it's not about where you are right now, it's where you finish and we're in a strong position to make sure that we put ourselves in a position now to go on and finish strong and it's important that we go on to do that. So, that’s the way we look at things here.
The team has been conceding a bit more goals. What do you need to work more on in order to improve your defense?
Buckingham: Yes, it’s an area where we certainly want to improve. We can’t go through the next nine games conceding the goals that we have, we know that. But it’s also the same starting eleven that were keeping clean sheets at the start of the season. You know, we've kept three clean sheets in 11 games and didn't concede those (many) goals in the first six or seven rounds. I’m convinced there’s only a brief time away from turning around.
Do you think there is a lack of enough bench strength as you made five changes to the side to keep some players fresh?
Buckingham: Yes, the last game we made changes because of the short turnaround between games. You know, I think in this league we've just had some six or seven-day breaks, whereas the last game we only had two days in between. So, I think it’s important that you try and put the freshest team on the field that is still going to be able to perform the way that we all want to and that’s what we tried to do.
But that didn’t quite happen for us. So, we made those changes at halftime, and I thought we were a little bit more balanced in the second half. And we started to go back to showing the energy and quality of football that we wanted to show from the start of the season and that’s something we’ve reflected upon this week.
What do you think has gone wrong in the last few games and how will you look to rectify that against Kerala Blasters FC who are right at the top of their game?
Buckingham: I think it’s an exciting challenge, you know, which is about not getting carried away with the results. I know the comments made about how well we play when we win games, and I’ve seen quick reactions when we don’t win games. So, it's important, as I go back to what I said at the start, we don't get carried away whether we win or lose.
We’ve played some good football in the eleven games and have put ourselves in a strong position leading into the second half of the season. We sit three points behind Kerala, and we play Kerala, so it’s an exciting opportunity to draw level with them and kick on.
But it's very much about making sure over the next nine games that we’re consistent in both performances and picking up results, to make sure that come the end of the season, we put ourselves in the position that we all want.
Kerala Blasters FC are coming into the game with a 10-match unbeaten run. What are your thoughts on the opponents?
Buckingham: I really enjoyed watching Kerala. I think they’re fantastically coached by Ivan [Vukomanovic] and they’ve got some exciting players. I mentioned Adrian Luna in my last press conference leading into them, I’ve been really impressed watching them.
You know, we played Chennaiyin who hadn’t been beaten, we played Jamshedpur who hadn’t been beaten when we played them, so it’s an exciting opportunity to take these unbeaten teams on and to go on and win the game. It’s an exciting opportunity for us to get back on track as well.
Here are the excerpts from Angulo’s press conference:
As a senior and an experienced player, how has been your role in sort of developing and helping the young players in the team this season?
Angulo: Given my age, I don’t just have the responsibility to perform on the pitch but also in the dressing room. This year, in the bubble, I try to help the youngsters of the team to improve their quality, and I’m very close to the attackers of the team too, they have a good relationship with me, and we get along really well. Anything they need, they know I’m here [for them].
As a senior player in the team, how important has been your role in addressing what has happened in the last five games?
Angulo: Important. We have to be there for the team and try to help in every way possible. This is a very young squad, only 3-4 players are over 30 years old. So, all of us have to pull in the same direction. Obviously, the responsibility falls more on the senior players than others, but we have a good team. Yes, we had a bad run in the last five games, but we’re the ones who will have to change it. And I hope on Sunday we can change this dynamic.