The Mumbai City head coach was also impressed by the team’s mentality.

Mumbai City head coach Des Buckingham praised the immediate impact that his substitutes had in their comeback victory against Jamshedpur FC at the JRD Tata Sports Complex on Friday. The Islanders were down 1-0 till the 80th minute, with Boris Singh’s second-half strike potentially handing the visitors their first defeat of the season. However, Lallianzuala Chhangte swiftly sprang into action, scoring and assisting once each within six minutes (80’, 86’) to help Mumbai snatch three points from the encounter.

Here are the excerpts from Buckignham’s post-match press interaction.

Impact of the changes

Vikram Partap Singh was brought on to help Mumbai add numbers up front and the young winger fared pretty well, playing a critical role in Chhangte’s equalizer before notching the winner later on. Similarly, Alberto Noguera’s introduction enabled Des Buckingham’s side to adopt a more direct approach as they pushed hard to neutralize Jamshedpur’s lead in the last 20 minutes of the game.

“The good thing for us was when something wasn’t working, we actually tried to make a change before they scored. But unfortunately, we couldn’t get the players onto the pitch on time. But the pleasing thing was when we did make the change, the impact that those players had against a very good team and to come away with three points is hugely pleasing,” the head coach said.

“We found different ways to not just get the results, but obviously the performance, especially in the last twenty minutes,” he added.

Winning mentality

Mumbai City have not lost a single game this season. With only four games remaining in the league stages, they have a definite shot at doing the unthinkable by rounding off this campaign unbeaten. However, that elusive feat opportunity could very well have been taken away from them in Jamshedpur as the home side looked all set to hold on to their lead in the last 10 minutes.

The Islanders could very well have secured their undefeated status by playing out for a draw after Chhangte’s equalizer. However, they immediately brought the ball back to the halfway line in order to have a go at scoring the winner as well. More than the victory, it was this mentality that caught Des Buckingham’s attention.

“It’s a huge result, but I think it’s more the manner in which we were able to achieve the result. We keep speaking about how we’ve got a way of playing. Sometimes you don’t have it go the way that you want. The pleasing thing to go down here and to be able to come back and not just come back and get the equalizer, but the reaction to the players that equalizer wasn’t to settle for the draw,” the 37-year-old explained.

He added, “The players actually picked the ball up on the way back and put it on the halfway line because they weren’t happy and satisfied with the draw, despite how hard this place is to come. So, that actually that mentality to then go on and win the game. 16 games and four to go is going to be so important if we want to be successful both in the regular league season and now in the playoffs.”

On Vikram Pratap Singh

Vikram has been used as a substitute on multiple occasions this season. However, on Friday, he delivered his most concrete contribution yet. The winger was vehemently involved in proceedings near the 18-yard box and played a good part in the build-up to the first goal.

In the 86th minute, he landed at the right spot at the right time to get at the end of Chhangte’s delivery and slot the ball into the back of the net. Buckingham has appreciated the value that his three wingers – Vikram, Bipin (Singh) and Chhangte add to the side multiple times, often commenting that the trio allows Mumbai City to adopt different approaches in order to untangle opposite defensive units.

“Vikram (Singh) is a wonderful young player, a wonderful young man who has already showcased what he’s capable of doing at this level. We’ve tried to give him as many minutes as every time he has come onto the field, he has had an impact,” Des Buckingham said.

“He has won two penalties for us and got a really good shot saved in the previous game. And then tonight, to come on and score the winner, he’s already shown what he can do. Now if he can continue doing that work, he has got a very bright future with us and ahead of himself,” he signed off.

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