Mumbai City FC is geared up for the new season, and with just a few days remaining before their ISL campaign starts in Goa, their head coach spoke to the press and enlightened us more about what we can expect from Mumbai this season.
Mumbai City FC will face the tournament hosts, FC Goa, at 7:30 PM on 22nd November to begin their season. The pressure will be on Mumbai to start positively, given that they are the defending champions of both the League shield and the ISL Trophy. Goa, being the hosts, will surely have at least a mental advantage over Mumbai.
Here’s how the press conference unfolded.
Des Buckingham on Mumbai City’s Style of Play and his Philosophy
“The first thing is to recognize the excellent work that Sergio and the team did last year. They achieved something they did never before. It is important to highlight some of that work because we don’t want to throw that away.”
“In terms of playing style, I watched all of the games last year. It was an inspiring brand of Football and attacking style of Football which strikes through to my philosophy, and I’m trying to add to, not change but add to continue playing in a similar way which you have seen”
Opinion of Indian Players of the squad
“My first impression of Indian Players and Indian Football wasn’t this year. It was back in 2018 when I came here as the assistant coach of the senior team of New Zealand Football when we played against India in the Inter-Continental Cup”.
“When the opportunity came up to come here, I checked the squad, and we have a good mix of ages and experiences, but the Indian players we have, I’m thrilled. We’ve got very good young players coming through, and there’s a bit of a background I have working with those types of players, and we have some excellent senior players, both Indian and foreign as well, and we’re delighted with what we have.”
Plans for AFC Champions League
“The first thing we need to focus on is to not turn away our attention too far from the League. The League starts in a couple of days, and our attention is on Goa and only Goa at the moment.”
“The Champions League is a good competition. We are looking forward to that, but the tournament is at the back end of our season. The League will end by March, so we need to focus on the League first and then we’ll have some time to address and look at that.
About Pre-season Preparation and Performance of the Team in Pre season
“I’m as happy as I can be. I think we’ve done almost everything we could have done. From the moment I stepped into the Bubble here, at Goa, the facilities we have and the work that has been going behind the scenes to set the environment up here has been fantastic.”
“We’ve got four weeks, and we played four games, and people look up to the pre-season results to determine how we’ll start the season, but hopefully, most of the time, it isn’t the case. We’ve tried to use a few different things and different players at different positions, and we’ve been trying to add to the style we were playing last year.”
“In terms of players that stood out, I won’t pull out any individuals because we’re all working towards the game against Goa, but they’ve all been very positive, very upper minded and adapted hugely well to the changes that have been made in the last few weeks.”
Des Buckingham On plans with Young Players
“I’ve got a lot of experience specifically of working with youth, especially the U-23s, and it was exciting to see few of our players in the U-23 Championship, and I saw the success they all had. In senior club football, I think the most important thing is that the players are very clear on how we want to do what we do and then towards how they can contribute to adding value on the pitch.”
“For me, it doesn’t matter if you’re at 18 or 19, all the way to our oldest player at 37, but for me, it’s about if the players are clear about how we do what we do and how they work within and fit in the system to try and get the success that we want.”
Views on Apuia
“I’ve been very impressed watching him, and I see him as one of the midfielders in the way we play, whether be it a defensive or attacking midfield role. I think he can play both. He’s an exciting player to have, and he will give us different options in an already strong midfield.”
Vision for coming years
“First is to build upon the success that the team had last year. Again, it depends on how you define success. For me, it’s not just winning games and numbers. It’s also building a good attacking play style or brand on Football that makes people turn on their TVs as they can’t come to the stadium to watch something exciting, one that I can enjoy watching from the sidelines, a style that the players enjoy as well.”
“Firstly, it’s making sure we can start that, and then it’s to try and add value while I’m here and to try and build this squad and take them further from where I picked it up. Sergio surely took this club to a good level, and it’s now my role to pick it up and try to advance and move forward.”
Des Buckingham about Leaders for the Season
“We have done a lot of work last few weeks and have involved the players in decision making as they play an important role. We have taken feedback from the players as well as the staff. We will have two Vice-Captains in Rowllin and Mandar, and they’ll be led by our captain, who will be announced soon.”
Des Buckingham on Center Back Pair with one Foreigner
“We have good Indian players who can play in as well. We have signed young Valpuia, Rahul Bheke, who has come in as a replacement, and we have Mehtab, who are competent players who can partner fall and compliment him very well and play the way we like them. It’s about the capability of the Indian players at those positions, and I’m delighted with it.”
Des on how to deal with pressure being Defending Champions or Curse of Champions
“I think it’s exciting. You want to be the first to do something, and Sergio was the first to lead the club to both titles last year. So, if we continue to build on it, we can be on it first again, whether that be progressing to the Champions League again or maybe trying and retain one if not both of these trophies. That, for me, is an exciting task rather than trying to work with teams where you might have to struggle. So yes, no pressure on us. We’re very clear on what we want to do, and now it’s just about the players to go and express themselves when the season starts.”
Follow our website for the latest updates on Indian Football.