Des Buckingham’s Mumbai City FC, after a sound start to their ISL campaign, stumbled when they faced Kerala Blasters in their last game. The Islanders were handed a 3-0 defeat and will be looking forward to bouncing back to winning ways as they face Northeast United FC tomorrow.
Here’s what coach Des Buckingham and Rahul Bheke had to say ahead of the game in the press conference.
Rahul Bheke’s experience till now with a new team and a new coach
“It has been good. We got positive results and are at the top of the table. So far the experience has been good with the new coach and new teammates and I have enjoyed my time here.”
“I have learned a lot of new things from the players and the staff and I like playing with my new teammates. I learn from each and everyone and so far it has been a great learning journey for me.”
On playing with Mourtada Fall
“It is great to play with him. He is one of the leaders in our team and one of the players who has lots of experience. He is always there to help the youngsters. It is a great thing for us and the club to have a leader like him.”
Rahul Bheke on Fall missing the next game
“Of course, it is a big miss for us but we have players who are capable of filling in and playing in the defense.”
On reaching 100 games in the ISL
“It has been an incredible journey for me. I started for Kerala Blasters and now I am playing for my home team. It is a huge milestone in my career. But it is important that tomorrow we win because it is an important game and we have to bounce back to winning ways.”
“My advice to youngsters will be to keep working hard and keep patience and always be ready to help the team whenever they are needed.”
Des Buckingham on the game against Northeast
“We have learned as the season has been going on, that any team is capable of beating anybody. It is important regardless of what is going on in other clubs that we approach and prepare for every team our best. We need to work hard and win matches and maintain our effort and enthusiasm.”
“We have got Vignesh back. The medical staff has worked extremely hard for his fitness and I am pleased to say that he has trained with us in the last couple of sessions and he might be in the squad for the next game. It provides us with another option and if he can perform as he did in the first place then we can have many good options.”
Des Buckingham on the difficulties in playing out from the back and Plan B
“Yes, we do have. If we cannot take advantage of our two number sixes then we need to find other spaces in the field and in the last six or seven days we have tried them and we will continue to adapt and develop a style and make sure we have different plans so that if we can’t use one, we can move to the better option.”
On the performance of Mumbai’s fullbacks
“The players are still learning. If we go back to the start of the season then there was a change in staff, the addition of a lot of players, and there were some big changes and it will take some time for everyone to get the message across and fit in and develop. I am sure that we will start to see more glimpses of them as the season progresses and they will be in line with what we want from them.”
Des Buckingham on the game against Kerala and changes for the next game
“We lost against a good team as Kerala played very well. We went into the first half 1-0 down and the game was manageable but after half-time, we conceded two minutes later, and then we were down to ten men. That is the learning for us. We cannot afford that to happen as we cannot be 10 men down with a three-goal deficit. In terms of changes, we will see tomorrow.”
Mindset after a defeat
“The biggest thing for us has been consistency in terms of how we behave, how we play and how we train and we cannot be inconsistent. We have played extremely well in the last six games before the defeat. The last game was a different type of game but we still managed to pick up some things to learn. We have had a good start but there is still a long way to go. We need to maintain consistency and not get carried away.”
Des Buckingham on the performances of Apuia and Vikram
“The thing that has struck me regarding the Indian players is their willingness to learn. Every single player is keen to learn. I have been fortunate to work with them in the past three months. They are keen to develop. We have a very young side and we want to help the players to develop and adjust. They have a long way to go but it is an exciting thing for me to work with such an open set of players.”
On Rahul Bheke completing 100 games
“I have been very impressed with Rahul. He came into a new environment but he has adapted very well. It is a great milestone, especially in this short league. He has been a player who has performed well and developed into the role given to him. I hope that we can see much more of him.”
Mumbai City FC will take on Northeast United FC tomorrow at the Fatorda Stadium.
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