We have to be consistent to get much better results: Mumbai City FC’s Des Buckingham

Mumbai City FC head coach Des Buckingham assured that his team would be their best selves and put up a good fight against rivals ATK Mohun Bagan in their third game of the Hero Indian Super League 2021-22 season on Wednesday at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda, Goa.

The newly appointed manager of the Islanders was delighted with his team’s previous performances and remained hopeful on their results in the following games. Applauding rivals ATK Mohun Bagan, the 36-year-old was excited by their attacking style of play and advised that his team be prepared to face a quality side.

However, Mumbai City FC will be looking to maintain their 100% win record against ATK Mohun Bagan and get back to winning ways after their defeat against Hyderabad FC.

The Islanders’ head coach Buckingham along with midfielder Lalengmawia (Apuia) greeted the media during a pre-match press conference.

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

When you’re preparing for a game against ATK Mohun Bagan, for whom you only have a couple of games evidence, how do you actually prepare for it?

Buckingham: In terms of ATKMB, we’ve watched the last couple of matches, and they have improved extremely well again to add to the squad of this year. They’ve been very exciting to watch, especially in their attacking play. I’ve had the pleasure to work with the likes of Roy Krishna, and they have others in their team as well.

But I’ll come back to what I said in my previous games, it’s not so much about them, it’s about making sure that what we do is what we want. So, we need to prepare ourselves both, in possession, and out of possession, to face another good team and that’s what we’ve been working on in the last two days.

Mumbai City FC have been pressing high up the pitch to gain possession leading to a couple of goals against FC Goa and Hyderabad FC. Is this going to be a feature of how Mumbai City FC is going to play or was it done specifically for the opponents you’ve faced?

Buckingham: We’ll have a different gameplan for different teams but part of our style of what we want is not just in possession but also in different ways of winning the ball. It’s very important that we are structured and organized out of possession and that’s part of our style as well.

So, for some teams if we feel that pressing gets us more success higher up the field then we’ll do that, but we also need to factor in the number of games we have to play in a short space of time, and the physical demands that are placed upon the players when we ask them to do that.   

The team looked slightly lost during the game against Hyderabad FC. How do you motivate your team at such a time?

Buckingham:  This team doesn’t need any motivation, they won the league and the trophy last year, there’s no motivation needed here. They’re very experienced. If you say we were a bit lost, we’ve had 60% possession, we’ve played over 400 passes, we’ve created seven goalscoring opportunities throughout the game, so if they look lost, they can still do that. I’m happy with that because I feel if we approach games in that manner, more times than not, we’ll certainly come away with more results.

You are approaching probably the biggest game of the season. What are the improvements you think you have to do for the coming games?

Buckingham: If we continue to play the way we have in the last two games, we'll come away with far more results than not by changing our style. We just have to continue getting better. We played two games where we won one and lost one, so it’s a long journey, but we need to approach every single game as an important one regardless of the fixture.

We have only 20 games in the league, so we need to try and prepare players as best as we can for each of those games. Preparing for this game, we won't change too much, and for me it's clear to see that the team is starting to get better and I'm hopeful that the results will start to reflect that as well.

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

How did you adapt to the playing style of Mumbai City FC?

Apuia: It’s a little bit difficult for me. I was with the national team and did not have enough time as I got injured while playing for the Under-23 team. I didn’t have much time with the club but it’s a part of our life being footballers. So, I need to adapt anyways to the style of play, a bit different from where I’ve played before but I think it’s a perfect fit for me and I feel we can do well. It’s not much of a problem as my playing style is similar to the club’s playing style.

How has been your experience working with the coach Des Buckingham? Do you have any individual goals under him?

Apuia: Working with Des is a great opportunity; I’ve been gaining a lot of experience. He knows what to do with the players and I’ve improved immensely under him. Individually, I really want to win the ISL trophies, so it’s the same aim from both sides and I’m trying to give more assistance and contribution to the club for the same.  

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