Mandar Rao Desai – Winning the matches have made us confident

Mandar Rao Desai

Ahead of the game against Chennaiyin FC, Mumbai City FC vice-captain and defender Mandar Rao Desai spoke to the media in the pre-match press conference. Below is the full transcript.

Coming back from the injury, how important was it for you to be back, and how do you feel to contribute to back-to-back wins for the team?

“Injury was a big concern for me, and I think it’s about recovering well and coming back as strong as possible. But we started the season well. In the first game, we did well. In the second game, we performed well, but the results were not what we wanted. But right now, the form is going well. We have to continue this good work.”

The team is in full form, as you said. So how is the morale as a personal note and also for the squad?

“Winning the matches has been good for us. I think players are confident to go into the next game. But every game is different from one another. We concentrate on a particular game at one point in time and then go to the next one.”

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Being on the winning run, does it put you under a bit of pressure? Or does it give you confidence?

“I think when the team wins, all the players are more confident to go in the next game and perform well. When we are doing the training sessions, we are more confident, and we just want to go and get the positive results.”

What is it like having a role as a senior player and then advising and guiding the younger players of this squad?

“I had learned a lot from my seniors when I was young, and I just want to share my experience in my footballing career with the young ones who are coming up, and I just want to share the good things on and of the pitch so that they can perform better.”

So you have spent a lot of time under Sergio Lobera in FC Goa as well as Mumbai City FC, and now you are playing under Des Buckingham. Have you observed any difference in the coaching style or the playing style between the coaches?

“As you guys have seen, I think we play the same style of football that we played under Lobera, but coach Des has added some new things to it, and it’s more attractive now. You have seen the results going good for us, and so I think that’s the style we want to play during the season.”

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You have been to various clubs and seen the different kinds of clubs. But how do you think the culture is in Mumbai, in terms of the atmosphere for youngsters and the kind of backing there is for the youngsters in this team?

“The youngsters need to work harder. They have to be dedicated to what they want and what they want to achieve. We are always here to help them. Not only we, the coaches, and all the senior staff are also there, but it’s up to the young players to work hard and be achieve what they want.”

Over the years we have seen the foreigners getting reduced and this time it is at the lowest. Like being a senior player, has it changed for you guys? Has it added more responsibility to the Indian players, or is there more learning scope? How do you see it?

“I feel there are more chances for the domestic place to perform. As per the AFC rule, you can only play four foreigners at a time, but you know, we should get adopted it as fast as possible to the systems. We have to play and try to give our best. We have a lot of chances to prove ourselves now. So that’s the best opportunity for the domestic players.”

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How do you see the Chennaiyin team for tomorrow’s game, like how do you judge their strengths? What do you think about Mumbai City? What makes the team perform so well? What have been the major strengths of Mumbai City this season?

“About Chennaiyin FC, I think they’re doing good results, they are unbeaten, but we have also been doing well. So we go into this game with all the positive things we have done so far in the tournament. For us, as you saw that we have the same core. Despite a change in the coaching staff, we have the same style of play so it wasn’t difficult to adapt. So I think that’s the main thing which takes us forward in this tournament.”

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