Mumbai City FC will be looking to get back to winning ways as they face Jamshedpur FC in a crucial clash in the ISL 2021-22. With their game against Kerala Blasters getting postponed, the anticipation for the match has been building for both fans and players as MCFC look to right some of their wrongs.
Coach Des Buckingham addressed the media ahead of his side’s key encounter against the Red Miners.
On team news and injuries for the game, Des gave a positive update. He said, “We do not have any fresh injuries from the last game. Everyone is available”.
The ISL is in turmoil with surging cases of COVID-19 and players being unable to train over the past few days. Des Buckingham was asked about the state of his players with the current situation. He said, “We are currently free and there is no one who has been tested positive. It allows us to continue to train and we must make sure everyone in our bubble abides by the rules. We must stay consistent in our approach, even when there are things outside our control”.
Mumbai City FC’s opponents for Friday, Jamshedpur FC have not reportedly trained for more than a week. When asked if MCFC will start the game with an upper hand, Des said, “I don’t know. I am not sure what JFC have or haven’t been doing. Our focus has always been on what we can do. We had 3 days for this game, so it puts us in a good position with respect to this game”.
Ahmed Jahouh was a huge miss for MCFC in their 3-0 loss to Bengaluru FC as he missed the game through suspension. Des lauded Jahouh’s impact on his team. He said, “Jahouh has carried on from last year. He is probably the most used player last year in terms of passes and tackles. We have tried to develop his overall game, by making him go a little bit more forward and contribute with assists and goals which he has been doing. It has been such a pleasure working with a player like Jahouh and important now we develop him and his relationship with players around him”.
This week was also a historic one for Mumbai City FC, as they drew in the AFC Champions League, which is set to start after the ISL. The January transfer window will be the last opportunity for Des Buckingham to strengthen his side for the AFC Champions League. On any transfer business happening this month, the coach said, “We are always looking. We want the best Indian players in the club. There are things that we will always look at in the market, but there is no information to give as of now”.
Des added, “If there are opportunities for us to strengthen then certainly, we will look to bring them in. Whether or not we can make that happen is a whole other thing, but there may be areas where we look to improve”.
Mumbai City FC’s previous game, against Kerala Blasters FC, was called off due to a surge in COVID cases in the Blasters’ camp. The announcement was made just hours before kick-off. On the mood in the camp after such an abrupt postponement, Des said, “We were in the team meeting about to board the bus, when we got the information that the game was going to be called off. All the players and staff, we would rather play games than train, so it was making sure that players are informed”.
He added, “It is also about how we provide a release for these players because mentally and physically they’ve prepared themselves to play a competitive game of 90 minutes. So, what we did was we got them together and our strength and conditioning coach put on a very good physical session which turned into a competition between the players. They paired them up and there was a bit of scoreboard thing going on. Players certainly got their release because they worked extremely hard. It was an enjoyable hard work session, that allowed us to cool off the next day and then focus for the game against JFC”.
With the ISL undergoing some tough times, this game will prove to be a welcome refreshment as two English coaches clash against each other to pull away from the congested pack in the ISL table. As was the case with the reverse fixture, this game is expected to be a cracker.
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