In the 131st edition of the Durand Cup, Mumbai City FC has had a good run so far and has qualified for the quarter-finals. Ahead of their upcoming match with Chennaiyin FC on 11 September, Coach Des Buckingham and defender Amey Ranawade sat down for an online press conference.
Coach Des Buckingham delves into their loss against East Bengal FC. He also anticipates Mumbai City FC’s next match against Chennaiyin FC to be a worthy challenge. He and his team went to Manipur to see the final match of their group stage. The observations they made helped them to work to face the new challenges to the best of their abilities. Amey retrospects on his performance and vows to continue to push himself further.
Following are the excerpts from the conference.
Coach, what would be your approach for the upcoming game?
“To try and get better and build on what we have done. We talked about picking up from where we left at the Champions League. And it has certainly felt that way in the first three games. From the point of performance and results, we put ourselves in a strong position to qualify. We aimed to advance to the quarter-finals without any suspensions or injuries and I am pleased to say we have done that.”
“We are getting better. Ahead of us is a good match against a strong ISL team, a match we are looking forward to. These kinds of competitive games help us prepare for the ISL while also aiming to do well in the Tournament itself.”
How helpful has the Durand Cup been with regard to the pre-season preparations for the ISL?
“I think the extension of this season is great. Players want to play games and it gives them the opportunity to showcase their abilities within those games. Yes, it is pre-season but I also have hungry players, a hungry fanbase, and a hungry staff who want to perform well in whichever competition we take part in.“
“This is the oldest competition in India, even Asia and I want to respect that. I think you can see it from our player lineups to how we have approached it. From the beginning, we have tried to achieve the best position for ourselves in this tournament, to be successful and progress as far as we can.”
Mumbai City FC ends the group stage with a loss against East Bengal FC, what are the areas you wish to improve upon?
“So by that game, we knew we had already qualified which allowed us to try out a few different things. For me, it was important to get minutes into our foreign players as well as not carry over suspensions into the next stage. Five of our players are on yellow cards and we incurred a couple in the last game itself but none that would rule our players out going in.”
“Yes, it wasn’t what we wanted and is not something we want to come away with as a club. I was obviously not pleased with the way we played the game. There were missed opportunities and errors that affected the result. But it is about making sure that we look across the four games and not the single game. I am happy across the 4 games considering our last game was on the 27th of April. Coming back from that gap and playing the football we have and displaying the fitness we have shown so far, I am very happy with it.”
Amey, you have been performing well in this Durand cup. How has your experience been throughout?
“It has been a good experience. We are still learning and getting better game by game. Of course, I need to improve a lot and need to showcase our style of football more and show the same level of performance as we had in the AFC. So look forward to our improvements our better performance.”
What is your analysis of Chennaiyin FC and their performance so far?
“We, that is, Hiroshi Miyazawa and I, flew to Manipur to see their final match. We observed them. They have a new coach and new signings. We have done a lot of work based on it. We are trying to get our heads around and understand how they are planning and have been preparing for what we think we may face.”
“We have been to Manipur and after watching their game I can say we are facing a team that has been well put together. I think their recruitment has been excellent. We have prepared accordingly. We have highlighted areas where they are strong that we can hope to nullify as well as highlight weaknesses which we hope to take advantage of and to do our best.”
Ahead of such an important match, how is the mood in the dressing room, how are the players feeling, how are you feeling?
“I am excited. When we go into tournament football we don’t change our approach to how we want to do things whether it’s in the league, group stage or the knockout stages. At Mumbai City, we hold ourselves to a high standard. We are consistent with what we ask and expect of our staff and players and that does not change regardless of who we are playing.”
“I have been a part of high-performance sports for a long time now and have come to realise that if you can remain consistent with those high standards more often than not you tend to do okay and tend to do well. And if you hope to tend to do well the results come with you.”
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