Mumbai City are currently the only unbeaten side in the ISL.

Mumbai City head coach Des Buckingham opened up on the changes that he rang in the second-half of the Islanders’ 4-1 victory against FC Goa at the Mumbai Football Arena on Thursday. The home team was leading 2-1 heading into half-time courtesy a goal each by Jorge Pereyra Diaz and Lallianzuala Chhangte.

However, the tactician was disappointed with the overall performance and brought in Mandar Rao Dessai along with Alberto Noguera in place of Vignesh Dakshinamurthy and Ahmed Jahouh at the break. Mumbai netted twice in the second essay to round up a thoroughly convincing victory that extended their unbeaten streak to nine games in this season. Here the excerpts from Buckingham’s post-match press conference.

Changes that set off the turnaround

The 37-year-old came out with a well-balanced assessment of the game. He didn’t get carried away with the scoreline and insisted that the side needs to improve on multiple aspects if they were to continue their current imperious run of form.

“I am happy with the start but that’s all it is. We are nine games into a 20-game season and we want more than 20. We have got a lot more work to do. I wasn’t happy with the first-half. We were good enough to get the goals and go in with a lead but I wasn’t happy with a couple of things, which we changed in the second-half,” Des Buckingham revealed.

Team’s fine run of form

Simultaneously, he appreciated the team’s run of form over the course of the entire campaign as they have been unbeaten and accumulated 21 points whilst sitting at the top of the table after nine games. 

Also Read:

“I am very happy overall with nine games with what we have been able to do in terms of performances that have got results as well. It has not just been results I think they have been deserved. The way we have played is very good,” the head coach said.

He added, “But there is a lot more that we have to do if we want to continue not just getting better game-by-game but there is a way that we want to do things. There is a lot more work that both the staff and the players can look to do and we will look to address that after this short little break that we get before East Bengal.”

Ahmed Jahouh’s milestone

Mumbai City’s midfield lynchpin Ahmed Jahouh did not have the best of games on the night as he was hauled off for Alberto Noguera at half-time. However, prior to the game, the 34-year-old was presented with a special memento by Des Buckingham to celebrate what was his 100th appearance in the ISL. The ex-Wellington Phoenix boss heaped abundant praise on Jahouh as he lauded his ability to bring changes in his personal style of play to match the team’s overall footballing philosophy. 

“Ahmed Jahouh is one of the best players that I have been fortunate enough to work with in my time here both at the start and all the way through. He is one of the best professionals both on and off the field. He has tried so hard to adapt his game to play that we want. That’s the reason he is playing as much and starting the games that he is,” Buckingham expressed.

“Because, we know he can be very influential player in the league and what he has done already. But the way he has adapted his game to try and fit into our playing style; he is so open-minded to throw in new things and he tries so hard to try and do that. I am very happy with the performances he has had so far this season,” he further added.

Aiming for an unbeaten season this time?

Six games and three draws along with crushing most of the opponents coming their way has got everyone talking about whether Mumbai City can actually pull off an unbeaten season in the ISL this time around. Well, Des Buckingham isn’t targeting that, at least for now.

“No, I have just been asked that in the TV as well. No is the answer,” he immediately retorted to whether the thought has crossed his mind. He elaborated, “The results have been very pleasing but for me what is important is how we set our teams up. We have got a way that we want to play here at Mumbai. We have got a way that we want to play in the City Football Group (CFG) – the style, but more so for Mumbai.”

“And we have got to adapt to the plans that we have in the Indian football landscape. But, again, it’s making sure that we take every single game at a time. East Bengal, again, we know that it will be challenging. We played them in the Durand Cup and they beat us 4-3. We will make sure that we are ready for that and then we will see where we go,” Buckingham further opened up.

Efficiency on both ends of the field

Mumbai have been in some absolutely ruthless goal-scoring form this year, having netted 27 times and conceded merely 10 times in nine matches. Multiple players from across the pitch have stepped up to power in strikes that have beaten the opposition goalkeeper and helped Mumbai steer ahead in even the most challenging of games quite seamlessly. But, coach Buckingham seems to be more impressed with the efficiency shown by his backline as well.

“It’s 27 goals in nine games. It’s very pleasing, honestly. We have spoken about that we want to be a possession-based team. I have spoken about us being an attacking-minded team. We want to go out and score more goals than the opposition. And while I am very pleased with the different goal-contributions in terms of players; we have got many different ways now to score goals. But it’s making sure that we also don’t concede at the other end,” he explained.

“That for me so far has been a big pleasing thing to see from the change of last year, how much more defensively solid we have been in the nine games and we need to be if we want to be successful this year,” Des Buckingham signed off.

For more updates, follow Khel Now on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and join our community on Telegram.