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Have to make sure we go as strong as possible in the last eight matches: Mumbai City FC’s Des Buckingham

Mumbai City FC head coach Des Buckingham wants his side to make sure that they are prepared for the ATK Mohun Bagan test in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at PJN Stadium, Fatorda on Thursday.

The Islanders are placed sixth on the points table, a win away to break into the top four. However, their recent struggles to convert matches in their favour meant that they have gone winless in the last six encounters.

Ahead of Mumbai City FC’s match against ATK Mohun Bagan, coach Buckingham addressed the media during the official pre-match press conference.

Here are the excerpts from the press conference.

You are facing against ATK Mohun Bagan who are coming to the match with the Derby victory. What do you make of the opponent?

I’m looking forward to the game. Everybody played one game in nearly three weeks due to different reasons, and we’re just all looking forward to playing the game, you know, they’re obviously a bit of a different team from the last time we played them at the start of the season with a different head coach and way of working. We’re aware of that.

But it’s been about making sure that we’re as ready as we can be for the game and whether it be the new additions that have come in or the players that are really keen to make sure that in the last eight games of the season we go as strong as we can. It’s just we’re looking forward to playing.

You mentioned before that Ahmed Jouhouh and also some defenders are trying to go for the diagonal longball and the wingers were making runs but we didn’t see that approach against NorthEast United FC.

No, I think it’s a bigger picture as I said we had. We were really impacted with our preparations for that game where we couldn’t even feel to recognise our centre forward. So we had to work with what we did.

Of course, we hadn’t played in two weeks leading to that because we’ve had two games cancelled due to other teams having covid so maybe a bit of match sharpness and fitness in that respect.

But when I go back to the 12 games, we’re obviously measured on external factors, which are the results, because the results are posted on the table.

But when we do the review of the last 12 games, we are still a team that are second on the table for overall possession. We’re second on the table for possession and passes across the league and we’re the team that enters the box the most times.

What are the advantages you think that Diego Mauricio and Lallianzuala Chhangte will give to the team?

I’m really happy with the signings that we’ve made, not just for the two that you’ve mentioned, but for the four that were brought in during the transfer window.

I think they strengthen our squad for the last eight games of the regular league season and also the Champions League squad. And I’m very thankful to the club for their support in bringing those players in.

In terms of the players you just mentioned, Diego, I feel will add some quality in that final third and will help us to continue scoring goals the way that we would like and Chhangte just brings a different skill set in our front line, you know, with Bipin and Vikram, we have a lot of pace and a lot of quality.

Chhangte, I’ve admired him since I first came. He really suits the style of what we want to play, and he just gives us a different option should we want to change something either within the game or at the start.

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