We have been far more consistent this season: Mumbai City FC's Des Buckingham
Mumbai City FC head coach Des Buckingham applauded his team for creating important chances and taking the opportunities that have come their way in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) season so far that has allowed them to remain unbeaten.
The team is now geared up to take on Chennaiyin FC in matchweek 6 of the Hero ISL at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Chennai, on Saturday.
The head coach added that the team has been more consistent this season as compared to the last one by creating more chances, maintaining a fair share of possession, and shoring up their defense, and wants to maintain these high standards going forward.
Buckingham was accompanied by the defender, Sanjeev Stalin, who revealed his motivation and aspiration to keep Mumbai City FC close to the top end of the table. Stalin has been a regular starter in the team and believes that the team is implementing the head coach's ideas to win in all the matches.
Here are the excerpts from Buckingham’s press conference:
The start of the season has been well. What are your thoughts on the upcoming match?
We started the season well. We are five games in so that means we’ve played the quarter length of the season and we’re unbeaten. But more pleasantly, we have played far more consistent football and got better in each game that we have played. I think that was on show against ATK Mohun Bagan the other day, and if we continue doing that, then we will put ourselves in the position that we all want, come the end of the season. But it’s important that we beat Chennaiyin FC first when we are away, that we continue to try to get better, and make sure we pick up the points from those games.
What do you think is the biggest positive of this season so far?
The consistency to our play. Last year, we showed it for periods of time in each game that we wanted to play a certain way and at times, that was in 10-20 minutes, in patches. Whereas I think now, we have shown consistency over large periods of time in each game. We have played and we have shown in each game this year, so it’s consistency but that comes with time. You know, this group of players has been together for 12 months and we have been working on this for a long time. We have to make sure to push and keep on getting better so the standards don’t drop because we know how important the Chennaiyin FC game is going to be for us. It’s important that we keep putting ourselves in good positions as the season progresses.
In the last match, you hit the post on many occasions. Do you think you would have won the match otherwise and it was a case of bad luck?
I think we had 21 efforts on the goal and we hit the post three times and then the crossbar. The pleasing thing for me is we are creating the chances. It’s not just about creating the chances, it’s about how we create those chances. It’s important that we finish those opportunities on the goal, to make sure the game becomes more manageable for us, the earlier the better. The other day, when the ball hit the post and went in, especially Alberto’s one right in the end, but for me it’s making sure that it’s our game style, to make sure that we go to Chennaiyin FC and we create half the chances. It’s the conversion that puts us in good positions.
About the last game, was it demoralizing having played so well and not being able to come away with all three points, especially in that particular atmosphere?
I think if we can continue to put on football like yesterday, not just our club, but every club in the Hero ISL, we would attract far larger numbers. When we look at ATK Mohun Bagan, they are a strong team, I expect them to be up there with us at the end of the season. We put ourselves in a really strong position at one-nil and then at two-one and then we had further chances that we didn’t take. To come away with a point, it’s disappointing when three points were so close. But when we take the emotions away and we look back at the game we played, the chances we created, we look at the number of opportunities we had, and we are to do what we have to do in the last 4-5 matches then we put ourselves in a very good position.
Is the team concerned about dropping points against the top teams in the league?
I think when you put in the context of where we sit on the table, which we won’t even look at yet, we are very well-positioned. I think it’s five games in, unbeaten, we’ve scored more goals than any other team in the league right now, we have two clean sheets in five games so defensively I think we’ve shorted that up, and overall for me, our game plan and gameplay certainly look better. When I look at the statistics compared to last year, we are far greater. So as long as we continue to improve in each game, the points will come.
Here are experpts from Stalin's press conference:
What are the specific instructions you get from the coach in the training and the matches?
It’s simple, the coach always has a plan for each and every game. Before the match, the coach just tells us what is the plan so, so we have to adapt and play just like he asks us to. At some point, we have to make the decisions that are important for the team, to perform well and to win as we are five games unbeaten and we have more games to go. The coach’s mind is to win every game.
You played fairly consistently for the side in the Durand Cup and now in the Hero ISL. How is this experience has been for you this far and what more do you hope to achieve out of it?
As a player, you want to play all 90 minutes, in all of the games. I’m happy that I’m getting the chance to play and that the coach trusts me. We have more games to play which are going to be tough for us so we are focused on the next games. Hopefully, with all my best I can help the team.