We are ready to face the only unbeaten team: Mumbai City FC’s Des Buckingham

Mumbai City FC is set to face the only undefeated side, Chennaiyin FC, that remains in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 season and head coach Des Buckingham expressed that his team need to evolve as the competition progresses.

The club sit comfortably at the top of the table but with the majority of the season remaining, Buckingham has cautioned against complacency.

Ahead of their clash, head coach Buckingham addressed the media during a pre-match press conference.

Here are the excerpts from the coach’s press conference:

Being on top of the table. How do you feel? And what do you feel about the Chennaiyin FC match?

It doesn't matter where you are on the table right now. It matters where you are at the end of the season, so we will take every game one at the time. It's important we didn't get carried away after our first result and we didn't get carried away after the second when we had one win and one loss. So our focus is very much on the next one and we're expecting another tough game from another very good team. They're unbeaten at the moment. The only team left in the league that is unbeaten, so it's a challenge, but one that we've had some time to prepare for and one that we're very much ready for.

Mumbai City FC are banking on a good bunch of young Indian players this season with the likes of Amey Ranawade, Gurkirat Singh, Apuia (Lalengmawia) and Vikram Singh is in top-notch form. So being a young coach yourself, this is what you had in mind when you took up the job to build the team around good young Indian players?

I'm a young coach at 36 but this is my 19th season of coaching, so, I've been fortunate in that 19 years to work across a real plethora of different environments with very good people. So part of the remit behind me coming in here was my background and experience of working with youth players. There've been some wonderful youth players I've worked with who have gone on to do some wonderful things, and that certainly was one of the assignments that was to come in here and to take that on.

We've said all along that we want the best Indian players, whether they're young or old here at Mumbai, because not only do we want to develop them, we want them to play well with an old style. So, whether it's the young players and having the opportunity to continue developing them or whether it's the senior players, it's very much the same. I think my background in working in that space was a part of me coming here as well.

Mumbai City FC have scored the most goals this season while Chennaiyin FC have conceded the least, how do you think the encounter is poised?

I think you have to look at it in context when you say there's only four goals scored. That's what I've seen. They are the team that leads the league with the most shots on goal. So although they may have not scored the amount that they would have liked there, certainly creating opportunities on the opposition's goal. So that's something we definitely need to be aware of and we've prepared for because we want to be the team that you know come game day, that those chances do turn into goals.

And it's important that during the season it's important that we evolve what we do, because teams will be watching games and trying to work out how we play and how we operate and they'll try to stop us.

What's the kind of atmosphere you provide to ensure that that happens in a way within the club?

So we we've got individual development plans for every player here, so it's not just youth players, but senior players and what that does that really delves into them as a person and the areas of development, one of which they're strong at the moment which we want to continue pushing and getting stronger, but also the areas that we feel they need to develop.

What we do is make a very clear plan about what that is. They're aware of it and then we work with them on development through training through game footage through programmes. So it's a very monitored and tracked programme. So we can not only see where they are now, but put things in place where we can develop the player's progression from the end of the season or a period of time. 

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