Mumbai City FC’s interim head coach Anthony Fernandes was happy to return to Indian Super League (ISL) action as the Islanders take on Bengaluru FC at the Sree Kanterava stadium on Friday. 

Mumbai City FC’s last game in the ISL was the 2-1 win over Punjab FC on November 2 which was their third victory of the season. The defending League Shield winners are unbeaten in the ISL so far and will travel to a place where their unbeaten run in the ISL comes to an end. 

Since their last match in the ISL, Mumbai City FC have lost three games in the AFC Champions League but Fernandes who took interim charge after the departure of Des Buckingham feels his team learned a lot from the continental games. 

“The team displayed courage in the ACL games. The level of opponents is very high and you need a positive mentality in these games. That was the best part of the team,” he said during the pre-match press conference. 

“The results didn't go our way but the way the players performed was amazing and we take a lot of positives from it going into the ISL matches,” he added. 

Bengaluru FC have not had the best of starts to their season but Fernandes revealed that he will leave no stone unturned in preparing his team for a key away game. 

“We look forward to resuming our ISL campaign. The team is well-prepared for an away game. We had an ACL game so right now it's about recovery. We have another two sessions where we will work on the tactical bit,” he said. 

Mumbai City FC face a hectic schedule in the ISL in December and will play six league games from now till the end of the month. But Fernandes feels it’s important to not look too far ahead and focus on the task at hand. 

“We play six games in the next 24 days. This is where a big and fit squad helps you. We are happy that almost all our players are available for selection,” he said. 

“Recovery will be key for us in the next 24 days. We will take it one match at a time and not think much about the games to come,” he added. 

Midfielder Vinit Rai accompanied Fernandes in the press conference and spoke about how the AFC Champions League games have helped the team gel together. 

“The AFC CL games have really helped us understand each other more. Those are really high-intensity matches so it will help all the players come back to the ISL,” he said. 

“We are going to get into the Bengaluru FC game with a different mentality. Bengaluru FC are a good side with a good history,” he added. 

“The two away games are very crucial for us before we play two straight home games. Our team is well prepared. We are in a good space,” he continued. 

Rai revealed how the team’s foreign players have helped improve his game and how their presence is key for in-match management. 

“All the foreign players are very experienced and have played at a good level. Some of them have been playing in the ISL for many years,” he said. 

“They try to help me out, especially during the game. The senior players step up during the games and all the foreign players are a good example,” he concluded.