Mumbai City FC head coach Des Buckingham believes that it will be another tough challenge for them when they take on Jamshedpur FC in Matchweek 17 of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 at the JRD Tata Sports Complex in Jamshedpur on Friday.

For Mumbai City, things are looking really promising right now as they have a chance of winning their 11th game in succession. With only five matches left to play in the league stage, they’re sitting at the top of the table with a four-point gap between them and second-placed Hyderabad FC.

In the reverse fixture at the Mumbai Football Arena, the Islanders worked their socks off but failed to secure full three points against an impressive Jamshedpur side. The game ended in a 1-1 draw.

“I think the last time we played them; they (Jamshedpur FC) took a point away from our home and took two more (points) from us. They’re a good team and got a very good coach in Aidy (Boothroyd). We've watched their games and it’s not that they're playing poorly, maybe it's just they haven't been taking their opportunities,” Buckingham said in the official pre-match press conference. 

“We're expecting another tough challenge the same way we did against them in the last encounter when we were (at) home, but we're a very different team to what we were when we played them then. I'd like to think we've been able to showcase our type of football more often,” he added.

Table-topper Mumbai City FC recorded a commanding 4-0 victory over NorthEast United FC in their previous game and had six days to prepare for Friday’s game against Jamshedpur FC. Buckingham explained how his team utilized the gap in between.

“We know that every game will pose its own challenges. We've got different ways that we can approach games now. We've spent the last eight days firstly recovering and resting the players from the previous games because we had two games in four days,” Buckingham said. 

“So it's nice to have that time between, because if you can do that, not only do you get more time to recover, but you get more time to plan and prepare for games. And I think when the fans come to the stadium; they see players performing at a higher level because of that,” added the coach.

Mumbai City FC are known for scouting young Indian talents and recently, they roped in young midfielder Gyamar Nikum from Hero I-League side Rajasthan United on a four-and-a-half-year contract, which will keep him at the club until May 2027.

Des has shed light on the philosophy of Mumbai City FC. He said, “I think we were a club that wants to develop the best Indian players, let alone young players. And to secure the services of (Gyamar) Nikum, he was the one who really interested me from the match we played against Rajasthan (United) in the Durand Cup.”

“We’re looking now not just to build for this season, but to try and build beyond. When I look at our team that finished the game last week. For the final 20 minutes of the game, we had only two foreigners on the pitch and our front three was not only an all-Indian front three but a young front three with Gurkirat Singh at the left side. We had Ayush making his debut (playing) down the middle; he's young 18 years old and Vikram was on the right-hand side. So it doesn't matter what age they are, it's about if they're good enough, then they will have the opportunity to play here. But it's also about making sure that we build this club for the future as well,” he added.

Scottish Talisman Greg Stewart also addressed the media as he accompanied Buckhinham in the pre-match press conference ahead of their game against Jamshedpur FC. He discussed his team’s performance in the reverse fixture earlier this season.

“I don't think so, no. Just the type of game it was. And we were still trying to find ourselves in the way we wanted to play. And in that game, I felt like they did well. They helped us to not create so many chances. And from our point of view, we were obviously disappointed in the way we played and with the outcome of the match. It was just one of those games, but credit (goes) to the Jamshedpur side. So, yeah it's going to be another difficult game tomorrow night,” Stewart said.

The 32-year-old attacking midfielder is eager to make his return at the JRD Sports Complex against his old club on Friday.

“Yeah, it was nice to see the stadium and the facilities here. The pitch looks very good. From what I could see, it could be one of the best in the league. So, yeah, we're looking forward to the match. We're going to be well prepared and as I say, we're looking forward to it,” he concluded.