ISL- Indian Super League

We won’t change too much on what we’ve done: Des Buckingham ahead of Odisha FC game

Atawaris WarsiAtawaris Warsi

September 27 2023

Mumbai City FC skipper Rahul Bheke shed light on the atmosphere inside the dressing room.

Mumbai City FC are on the road to the Kalinga Stadium for their second match in the 2023-24 ISL season, where they will face off against Odisha FC. In the opening week of the tournament, Des Buckingham’s side notched a 2-1 victory against NorthEast United, thanks to a remarkable performance by their star player, Jorge Pereyra Diaz, who netted two goals.

Odisha FC are a team which boast some familiar names from Mumbai City FC such as Ahmed Jahouh and Mourtada Fall. The Juggernauts also began their campaign with a win against Chennaiyin in Gameweek 1. Both teams are eager to capitalise on their previous success and secure another important victory.

Let’s see what insights Des Buckingham and Rahul Bheke have to offer about this thrilling match:

Thoughts on this game

Des Buckingham and his team made an impressive recovery following their defeat at the hands of Nassaji Mazandaran in their opening AFC Champions League match. They bounced back with a 2-1 victory over NorthEast United in Gameweek 1 of the ISL. 

Des Buckingham mentioned, “We just came off the back of the first game in the ISL against a very good NorthEast team. And now, it’s about making sure we continue on the good work that we have done since the start of the pre-season and build upon like last year. So, it’s a game we will be looking forward to, which will be very good and tough. But, we have done as much as we can to beat them.”

Now, the Islanders will hope to replicate the same performance against Sergio Lobera’s Odisha FC before facing Navbahor in the AFC Champions League in Uzbekistan.

Sergio Lobera vs Des Buckingham

Sergio Lobera, the current Odisha FC manager was once the manager of Mumbai City FC. Lobera joined the Islanders in October 2020 and oversaw the club’s most successful campaign ever, when the Islanders became the first team in ISL history to secure both the League Winners’ Shield and the Trophy.

Regarding the rivalry that’s brewing on ISL social media platforms, Des Buckingham addressed, “I think it’s not just Sergio, but also who is to play at centre, at right-back, Jahouh, Diego, they are all players that I am familiar with and worked with. So that brings that level of familiarity and people will look at and try to pit against each other. For me it doesn’t matter.”

Preparations and atmosphere ahead of the game

Rahul Bheke had been one of the key figures in the success of his team in the ISL. But, the Mumbai City skipper knows the challenges his team faces with the ISL and AFC Champions League scheduled simultaneously. 

“The atmosphere is good. We got a good start to the season and we are looking forward to the second game, which is another away game for us. So, it’s important for us to get as many points as possible from here. The atmosphere is really good in the dressing room”, Rahul Bheke highlighted the positive atmosphere before the match.

Any special line-up for Odisha

Odisha FC are a tough nut to crack and Des Buckingham acknowledges the fact. The Kalinga warriors are deemed as the dark horses for the ISL 2023-24 season. When asked whether the Englishman has something special lined up, he replied, “We have managed to be here for two days and we train again today. So, it’s about making sure that we feel just fresh and fit as a team and play the football that we want. We won’t change too much on what we have done.”

Mehtab’s injury

Mumbai City FC defender Mehtab Singh suffered an injury during the match against NorthEast United, when he got kicked on his head, trying to score a goal. “Mehtab scored a legitimate goal from a corner and got kicked on his head and then the goal was disallowed. Mehtab is with us. He trained today with us, so we will see what it looks like,” the manager mentioned.

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