A victory will help Mumbai City FC take a massive step towards clinching the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) Shield, but head coach Des Buckingham is not looking too far ahead as his side face FC Goa in Matchweek 19 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Goa, on Saturday.

Yet to face a defeat this season, Mumbai City FC are seven points clear at the top, although they have played a game more than second-placed Hyderabad FC. They have three games left to play, and face FC Goa next, who will be looking to consolidate their place in the top six.

Two wins from their remaining three games will help Mumbai City FC clinch the League Winners' Shield. Buckingham reiterated that all of his side’s remaining three games are going to be crucial and not just the one against the Gaurs.

“We only have three games left. They are all going to be as important as each other. It's not going to be about trying to pick up a result in this game. We want to finish the season as strongly as we possibly can. But to do that, we have to make sure that we prepare as well as we can and we have done that this week. We have shown through the whole season, if we keep looking at the next game and prepare as well as we can, the performances are hopefully as good as we can play and then we trust them to turn into results,” Buckingham said in the pre-match press conference.

In the reverse fixture, FC Goa suffered a 1-4 defeat against the Islanders in Mumbai. However, with a fixture at home this time, the Gaurs will be looking to inflict a defeat on the Islanders, backed by a strong home record.

The Carlos Pena-led side have won seven of their nine games at the Fatorda Stadium this season, having won just a solitary game away from home. Buckingham was aware of the threat posed by the opposition, but called for his side to put the focus on themselves.

“Nothing has really changed since the last time we played them. They were looking for results to try and make sure they finish in the playoffs, as well as us. FC Goa have got a traditional, real, strong, and central football identity in the way they want to play. Having Carlos Pena there, he knows the club, knows the football and now you can see that in their games consistently. We’re aware of that,” Buckingham revealed.

“The same as every week, we are aware of what the opposition may want to do, but it’s important to prepare ourselves to do what we want to do. We have control over that. We will do that as much as we can and we have done so far. We will put ourselves in the best position to come up against a very good FC Goa team,” he added. 

Buckingham was accompanied by defender Mehtab Singh in the pre-match press conference. The centre-back has featured in all 17 games under Buckingham this season, and has been one of their key players.

The 24-year-old has a goal to his name this campaign alongside keeping seven clean sheets. Singh explained how working hard during the off season has paid dividends for him this season and as he thanked Buckingham for his progression.

“Last season was up and down for me, due to injury and inconsistent performances. But this season, I put in extra work during the off season which I didn’t do last season. I have recovered well, and the head coach has also helped me on the things that I have to improve on in defence and attack. So there are many things by the head coach that have helped me grow,” Singh stated.