Need to keep pushing and still keep getting better: Mumbai City FC's Buckingham

Mumbai City FC head coach Des Buckingham was pleased with the way the team came back and grabbed all the three points as his men edged past Chennaiyin FC 2-1 at the Mumbai Football Arena in matchweek 12 of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23, in Mumbai, on Saturday.

The visitors gave a tough fight right from the first whistle and got the first goal with the help of a high pressing midfielders and composed Petar Sliskovic. Buckingham acknowledged Chennaiyin FC's fantastic outing tonight and expects similar kind of matches going forward.

"We knew that as the season progresses, games are going to get more difficult because teams have been playing together longer, and because of that teams will get better. I thought Chennaiyin FC were fantastic tonight, they made it very difficult for us. I'm sure we will come to expect that now for the next nine games as the season starts to tip the other way, The pleasing thing for me tonight was even though when you go behind, we come away with the result of this," said the head coach, who was also pleased to see different kind of playing style they can execute.

The Englishman also highlighted his side's 2021-22 campaign and pointed out the difference and betterment of his team in the ongoing season. He was impressed with his side's comeback win and wants them to match the same aggression as the season progresses. 

"Last year we may not have been able to do that. So it was pleasing to see, firstly stick to the way we want to play. It was good to see that we have different ways of playing too (long balls). If games do become like that when it is high pressure and it becomes a little bit more aggressive at times that we can also match that as well. We don't sit often and play through, the way we want, if teams want to make that difficult for us. First, the pleasant thing for me tonight was that we can also show signs that we can do that and come away with results" he added.

Despite going 0-1 down around the half an hour mark, the Islanders finished the game 2-1. Stewart was heavily marked in the first half and it resulted in the score line as well but the home team found a different way to scoring the goals. The head coach explained how they wanted to relieve pressure from some players and get what they wanted.

"I think they have man-marked all of our midfielders. So that's fine. We know last year when (Ahmed) Jahou and Apuia were particularly manmarked and it became difficult for us. We've worked very hard on making sure that we have different ways of combating that and different ways that we can play. Whether it's playing wide or playing over, at times because if you can mix your game up a little bit and players are understanding that then it's about recognizing when to do which"

With this win, the Islanders regained the top spot and still remain the only unbeaten team in the Hero Indian Super League 2022-23. Buckingham gave credit to the players and coaching staff for the effort they are putting behind the scenes.

"I think it's a combination of a lot of things. It's 15 months’ worth of work. It's getting the right people in the buildup plays and stuff. Some of them are very clear about what we do and how we do. And then it's the everyday standards and work rate. That not just the staff, the players, the whole club are striving towards to achieve. We want to be the best club we can be we're not going to compare ourselves to others, to do that. We need to keep pushing and even now, we need to get better."

"We know the next nine games are not gonna be easy, but there are games that we want to go and still try to win, because we want to be successful this year. So it's the recruitment of good people. It's a lot of hard work behind the scenes. People only see what's actually on the TV. They don't see the day to day work, these guys put in and then we consistently drive, pushing each other. And if we can do that, then it's down to how we play in the game and then the management of the staff to make sure that we secure the points more often than not," he concluded.

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