Mumbai City FC are sixth in the points table with 22 points (6 wins and 4 draws) from 14 matches. Mumbai City FC won 1-0 against Chennaiyin FC in their last match. A late strike from Vikram Singh got the Islanders their first win in the last eight matches. Head coach Des Buckingham wants his team to stick to their game plan as they lock horns with Odisha FC tomorrow.
Meanwhile their opponents, Odisha FC are currently placed in the 7th position on the standings having collected 21 points (6 wins and 3 draws) from 15 games. A victory in the upcoming match will push them into the top four and enhance their chances of qualifying for the semi-finals.
Ahead of Mumbai City FC’s match against Odisha FC on Sunday, 13rd February at the Fatorda Stadium, coach Des Buckingham addressed the media during the official pre-match press conference.
Here are the excerpts from the press conference.
Des spoke on if there is any specific plan to mark Javi Hernandez and Jonathas Jesus tomorrow as they have been impressive for Odisha FC this season.
“We have got a plan for every game. I have always said that it’s important we focus on ourselves. We have a game plan and it’s important that we stick to it as we have in the last three games in particular. Because now we are a team that’s unbeaten in three and have collected five points out of possible nine. This has given us some momentum going into the backend of the season.”
Odisha FC defeated Mumbai City FC in the first leg. Coach Buckingham spoke about how he will approach tomorrow’s game.
“I think every game is different. I think when you look at the table, yes there’s only one point between Odisha FC and us, but there’s only one point between us and the third, fourth-placed team. It’s a very tight league. The remaining six games are going to be very important for us. When I look at the results, everyone seems to be taking points off everyone. It’s going to be an exciting February and March but it’s important that we focus just on this game against Odisha FC.”
Mumbai City FC got a comprehensive win over Chennaiyin FC in the last match and broke seven games winless streak. Des spoke about it and if he has worked to maintain that level for the upcoming matches.
“I think just what we have continued to do. You referred to our winless run, I will talk around the fact that even in that winless run we were picking up results. We picked up four draws and actually felt that we were playing good football. We knew if stuck to our style we would get the results, which is what we had in the last two games. We are unbeaten in the last three. We wanted to build momentum in the backend of the season and now we are in a good position to kick on and do that.”
Mourtada Fall and Ahmed Jahouh extended their contracts for Mumbai City FC till 2023, and Buckingham was asked about team captain Fall and midfield maestro Ahmed Jahouh and what they bring to the table.
“We have re-signed Mourtada for another season, which has been based on what I have seen him bring to this group. His true leadership. How he goes about his business off the field, the way he is able to engage with his teammates and staff, the way he leads by example and not just by words but by actions These are the main things I admire about him. I am pleased to have him for another season.
“Jahouh has been one of the most consistent and influential players in the ISL. His experience, technical ability, and game intelligence are complimented with being a fantastic person with great characteristics. We are delighted to have Jahouh extend his stay with us and he will continue to play an important role here at Mumbai City.”
The gaffer shared his analysis of the youngsters in the team whom he has coached this season.
“We have good senior players but when you look across our side we have a lot of young players. And not just young players sitting on the bench, they are actually playing. Nawaz, Amey, Vignesh, Mehtab, Apuia, Vikram, and Gurkirat Singh. They have had a huge impact on getting us where we are right now. And we have a lot more that haven’t been featured yet. But they are surrounded by good senior professionals both Indian and foreigners. I have said that we want the best Indian players here, young or old, and we have certainly got a good bulk of it here now.”
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