The Islanders’ boss praised debutant Asif Khan as well.

Mumbai City roared back to the top of the Indian Super League (ISL 2022-23) table with a compelling 4-2 win over Odisha FC on Monday. A brace from Lallianzuala Chhangte, as well as goals from Alberto Noguera and Bipin Singh inspired Des Buckingham’s side to their seventh successive win in the ISL.

Buckingham pleased with impressive win

Des Buckingham was happy to see yet another dominant win for his side, as he reflected on the performance after the game: “I’m extremely happy. We know teams have come here and tried to leave with three points and they have struggled. So, to come here (and win) and for me the performance was very good. Especially in the second half, individual performances were solid, but we stuck to what we wanted. To getting three points is very important now and will be very important going forward. I’m pleased with the team’s performance and those of the individuals as well.”

Thoughts on Chhangte and Bipin’s goal contributions

Lallianzuala Chhangte scored a brace and even assisted a goal, while Bipin Singh also got on the scoresheet. When asked his thoughts on their performances, the Englishman explained: “I think Chhangte has now become the joint top-goal-scorer in the league. We’ve spoken about getting Indian goal-scorers and players in those types of charts. The contribution they are providing to us to be successful is so important. But so is our front-five.

“You have (Jorge Pereyra) Diaz, of course you have Greg (Stewart), (Alberto) Noguera, Apuia and Vineet Rai – who chipped in with Vikram (Partap Singh) tonight as well. They all contributed heavily alongside those two. There is a reason they start every game – because they continuously perform, whether it’s the performance with the ball, the assists they create or even scoring goals,” he added.

Approach to difficult away games

After becoming the first team to defeat Odisha at the Kalinga Stadium this season, Des Buckingham was asked on what his side’s thought process was heading into the clash. He said: “Keep playing the same way we are. We won’t change how we approach games, whether it’s in the AFC Champions League, whether it’s coming here or whether it’s next week to Kerala Blasters. We got a way as a club that we want to play, and we’re doing our best to play that way and be as good as we can. There is still a lot to do and we have eight more games to address some of those areas. But to come here and leave with three points is very good.”

Praise for debutant Asif Khan

Mumbai City midfielder Mohammed Asif Khan made his ISL debut against Odisha. Speaking about his special night, Des Buckingham quipped: “Asif has worked extremely hard since I’ve arrived here and since the start of the season. He knew he was going to compete against a very strong midfield core this year. The way he has adapted and performed in training is that of a professional footballer, be it off the pitch in the gym, with his nutrition or his recovery, he has been superb.

“He’s a good example to the young players in our club, knowing that you do the work and you get opportunities. That is the message I sent when we went to Dubai in pre-season. He has had to be very patient, but it’s because he has been patient and consistent and done everything so well, it was a pleasure to see him make his debut tonight and I’m hopeful there’s many more,” he added.

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