Mumbai City FC head coach Des Buckingham made it clear he is looking forward to achieve more with his team in the ongoing Hero Indian Super League (ISL) season ahead of their clash against Bengaluru FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, in Bengaluru, on Wednesday.

Mumbai City FC clinched the Hero ISL shield for the second time in the Hero ISL history by beating FC Goa in the last match. The Islanders have played 18 games so far and won 14 games and drawn four games. By winning against Bengaluru FC, Buckingham and his team will take one step closer in their quest to finish unbeaten. Buckingham was happy with the way they achieved the league shield, but said that they are now thinking about the next game and not worrying much about the tagline of invincibles.

"On this journey, I had so many special memories. Personally this season certainly ranks up there not because of a shield or not because of a trophy, but in terms of what we've been able to do and how we've been able to do it and we never spoke about results. We're very big believers in the way that we want to work and we believe in it. The players trusted it well and did it in 18 games. It's a wonderful achievement for everyone associated with the club," Buckingham said in the pre-match press conference.

"But we are not done, we still have two very important games in the league that we want to finish and finish strongly and then we have to chase a double. We've got a lot in front of us. Invincible is not something that we speak about as a staff group or players and we keep talking about it game to game. My job is to put the best team out for each game and I will continue to do that for the next game against BFC and EBFC. We're far from finished yet," he added.

Mumbai City FC's opponents, Bengaluru FC, are a team who are peaking at the right time. The Blues have won all their last six matches and are the only team in the league which have won all their matches in 2023. Bengaluru FC also got the better of Mumbai City FC in the Durand Cup 2022 final. Buckingham is aware the current form of the opponents and looking forward for a good game on Wednesday.

"BFC have actually hit some form and have six wins in a row, but I'd like to think we're in some good form ourselves and We've got that in the first part (of the season) which allowed us now with the shield but now we want to continue and we'll approach the BFC game the same way we have done for the past 18 games, But we know they are a very good team, as we played against them in the Durand Cup final. They've obviously found a way of playing and performing and getting the results, which the last six games have certainly shown. So we'll be ready for it and we're looking forward to it and I would expect a very good game," he said.

Mumbai City FC have scored a record number of 53 goals in the league stage, the highest by any team in their Hero ISL history. At the same time, Buckingham's side have been solid in the defence as well. The Islanders have conceded just 18 goals in this season so far, the third best in the league. The Englishman talked about the process behind building this strong backline which they failed to do so in the last year, as they conceded 31 goals in the Hero ISL 2021-22 season.

"We know we need to concede less goals, but again, it's been about working with those players, to try and develop them individually and then spend time working with them as a unit and then how we want to defend as a group. And that's been a pleasant thing because we know we can score goals but we don't want to have to either chase games or make games with a bit more difficulty than it need to be in. Players are stepped up consistently and now it’s been very good to see and they can be very important as we finish out this regular season and for the Playoffs," Buckingham commented.

Lallianzuala Chhangte has been a revelation for the club this season. The Mizoram-born winger has been one of the contendors for the Golden Boot with 10 goals so far, the only Indian player in the top 10 list. The winger also has 16 goal contributions so far, the highest by any Indian player in this season. Buckingham is pleased with the way Chhangte is playing, but assured that he is not to a finished article yet.

"We knew when we bring Chhangte here, how good he was as a player. There were some questions asked about his final product and his end product, but he's now shown in the Durand cup by winning the golden boot and now up there challenging for Hero ISL golden boot this season. So there's nothing better as a coach to see that and a player that's developed but also is now full of confidence in what he can do. He has a long way to go, still lots more to do but to see the development in him in 12 months I'm excited to see what the next 12 months could look like," Buckingham concluded.

Bipin Singh, the 27-year-old winger, was accompanied by Buckingham in the pre-match press conference. Bipin Singh joined Mumbai City FC in 2018 and has been the mainstay for the Islanders. The Manipur-born player is the all-time top scorer of the club with 20 goals to his name, including six goals in the ongoing season. The winger talked about the influence of Buckingham in his playing style and the team's performance as a whole.

"Buckingham gives us players a lot of confidence, he has his set standards for us and demands the same when we're playing on the pitch. Last year was the first time the coach was here and he had a one-on-one talk with each and every player regarding the roles each player had to play under his system. We tried it last year but I'm not sure if everyone understood their roles clearly. This year, everyone knows what the coach has demanded of us, we stick to his plan and you can see it in our results," he said.

Bipin Singh was the crucial member in Sergio Lobera's MCFC team which did the Hero ISL double in the 2020-21 season. Singh scored the winning goal against ATK Mohun Bagan in the Hero final in the dying minutes that season. Singh explained the motivation behind recreating the magic once again under Des Buckingham.

"It took four years for me to win the league shield ever since I joined the league with ATK FC. The feeling of achieving my dreams motivates me to do better. If I can focus on achieving my dreams, it is enough motivation for me. To get that champion feeling back is great. That season (under Lobera), we won the Hero ISL double. Now, we've won the Shield, now the focus is on winning the title once again," he concluded.