We’re excited going into the unknown with no real pressure: Mumbai City FC’s Des Buckingham

Mumbai City FC head coach Des Buckingham believes his side is capable of playing to their fullest potential and will achieve what they’re set out to do as they begin preparations for their upcoming game against UAE side Al Jazira Club at the King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Thursday.

Also Read: AFC Champions League: All you need to know about Al Jazira Club, Mumbai City FC's group stage opponents

A loss in the first game followed by a win in the second one, the Islanders are placed second in the group, two berths above their opponent Al Jazira Club who are at the bottom. Buckingham is enthusiastic of his team while also being wary of the threat possessed by the Abu Dhabi-based club, who have a similar possession-based style of play. 

Ahead of their group stage clash, the Islanders head coach addressed the media during the official pre-match press conference.

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

How are the preparations coming up for the upcoming game?

It’s a game we’re looking forward to, it’s our third game in the space of eight days, so it’s been important in the last 48 hours to get some rest and recovery for the players. But we’re in a good space, we have the majority of our players available to us and we’re ready for the game.

The preparations for the next game seem that there’s pressure on the players since you won your first-ever AFC Champions League game. What’s your view on that?

We didn’t put any pressure on our players from the start. We said it’s been the first time we’re playing at this level of competition, we said we wanted to come and do things that no team has done before. We’ve done that, we’ve won our first game, but the excitement for me and the excitement for the group is we have four games (left). We want to go and see what we can do, what we can achieve. So, no pressure, it’s more of an excitement about the unknown. We’re going into the unknown with no real pressure on us and that’s an exciting thing to go into.

You achieved your target of winning the first-ever AFC Champions League game for an Indian club, how do you now refocus onto the next games and achieve your next target?

Yes, we spent six months in the ISL, preparing ourselves for this, we spent another two-and-a-half weeks in Abu Dhabi, preparing to try and achieve something no team has done before, but we must enjoy the moment, it’s a significant moment for our club and for Indian football.

But we must quickly turn our focus back to this competition, back to this game in front of us because if we don’t, we know the quality of teams we’re up against and we know how ruthless football can be at times.

We’re looking in a way that we achieve what we’re set out to. It’s important that, with four games to go, we don’t know what we can do. I'm extremely excited about what we have, the potential to go on and achieve.

Al Jazira Club head coach Marcel Keizer described Mumbai City FC’s style of play as possession-based football, and they have a very similar style of play too. So, what kind of a game will we be expecting on Thursday?

Yes, that’s been the place and thing about coming into this level of competition. We haven’t changed our focus on how we want to play, which is a possession-based game, there’s an attacking based game as well which allows our players to showcase what they’re capable of doing. We’ve got different ways we want to play, and we’ve shown that across the two games through the way we’ve set up.

We’re still missing our leading goalscorer [Igor Angulo], and Brad Inman was fortunately available for us in the last game, we got 45 minutes of him into it. Having Brad available for us and bringing Diego into this side gives us different ways of playing, so we’ll continue our positive approach to continue showcasing how well our players can play. And of course, we’re wary of the qualities possessed by Al Jazira Club.

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