Really enjoyed the last two and a half hours of my life: MCFC head coach Des Buckingham

Mumbai City FC head coach Des Buckingham was grateful for the support of their fans and was pleased with the way they welcomed the team, as his side beat Odisha FC 2-0 to claim their first victory of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 season at the Mumbai Football Arena, in Mumbai, on Saturday.

Buckingham ventured out at the Mumbai Football Arena for the first time as the head coach of the club and was strongly appreciative of the overwhelming response he and his team received throughout the game.

Report: Islanders seal season's first win in cagey affair with Odisha FC

The Englishman addressed the media in the official post-match press conference and spoke about the team’s first home win, Bipin Singh’s historic 15th goal for the club, and a lot more.

Here are the excerpts from his press conference: 

You played your first-ever game at the Mumbai Football Arena. What were your impressions of the stadium, the atmosphere, and the fans here?

I’ve really enjoyed the last two and a half hours of my life. To play at home for the first time in over two years and the way the team was welcomed by the fans was (just incredible). They didn’t stop singing throughout the game hence the game played out the way it did and certainly we finished (in the same manner). I hope we’ve sent them home happy, with three points and also with the way we’ve played. Hopefully, the support continues for next week and we want to see as many of them back in here when we play Jamshedpur FC.

Do you think Alberto Noguera and Ahmed Jahouh playing together right from the start had an impact on the performance tonight?

We went with Noguera and Jahouh because of the way they played last week, especially because we finished very strongly and we felt that the relationship between those two was particularly incredibly strong. We started Mehtab (Singh) alongside Rostyn (Griffiths) instead of Mourtada Fall, it allowed us to have one more player in the attacking third in Noguera and Greg (Stewart) going higher up (the field).

So, we’ve got different combinations that we can use and we will use now, both from the start and (through substitutions). You’ve seen tonight the importance of not just the foreign players and how we rotate them, but all of the squad that we have.

Both guys on the wings - Bipin Singh and Lallianzuala Chhangte were incredible tonight. In your time here, how have you seen them grow? Given the structure of the team, you have an abundance of wingers, so, what are your expectations from them?   

Firstly, congratulations to Bipin, he made history and became the joint-leading goalscorer of our club. That’s a wonderful achievement for him and I’m sure he’ll go on to get many more and I’m looking forward to him getting more (goals).

But for the three of them, we have Vikram (Partap Singh), Chhangte, and Bipin, they all have a different skillset and that’s so important to all of us as we progress through the season. The way we play, we do have good midfielders but if we can create space for them, to start with, that’s the important role of our wingers. But if they (opposition) then stop the wingers and if they (three) can get out of their positions correctly, we can play through them through our midfield. If they stop that, then we’ve got the pace and skillset of each of them.

The beauty of having three (wingers) and with different skillsets, it will help us to play against different teams, each of them is going to be extremely important. If a team wants to come and press us, we know we have the pace to get in behind, if a team wants to drop deeper, we know we have tricky players. So, it just gives us different options should we need to use them either at the start or in between the game.

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