The Mumbai City FC boss also admitted that more consistent performance from Ygor Catatau will elevate him to the starting XI.

Mumbai City FC stormed back into the top of the Indian Super League (ISL) table with an impressive 3-1 win over Bengaluru FC on Saturday night. The defending ISL champions struggled in the first half after Cleiton Silva cancelled out Igor Angulo’s early opener with a stunning free-kick. However, the Islanders came back charging in the second half. Goals from Mourtada Fall (54’) and Ygor Catatau (85’) sealed an important win for Des Buckingham’s side.

The Mumbai City boss admitted that his team practice hard on set-pieces, which led to Fall’s goal. “Yeah, set-pieces play an important part in our game. I think around all over the world, 3/4th of the goals are either scored or conceded via set-pieces. So we spend as much time on improving our set-plays as we would do in possession and out of possession,” he began.

Sunil Chhetri’s missed penalty

Sunil Chhetri missed his second consecutive penalty for the Blues early in the first half. Commenting on whether he was surprised to see it, Des Buckingham felt the credit goes to keeper Mohammad Nawaz.

“I have to say that we have to give credit to (Mohammad) Nawaz first, it was an excellent save. Sunil’s hit it well and it was a great save from Nawaz,” he remarked.

Watch: Des Buckingham reflects on the performance of his team in a 3-1 win over Bengaluru FC

“I got to give credit to our goalkeepers and our goalkeeping coach David Coles, who alongside our video analyst spends a lot of time delving through where they believe players will go for penalties. Full credit to Nawaz first. However, also the work rate of the staff to help him make that save,” he continued.

Room for improvement

Despite recording formidable wins over two ISL giants in ATK Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC, Des Buckingham still believes there’s room for improvement.

“There’s always room for improvement. We’ll turn up against different teams with different styles. We’ve certainly turned up tonight in what has been a very short period of games for us. I said to the boys afterward that we need to learn to come away with results against different styles. I was very proud of how we came up with the win today,” he explained.

Thoughts on Ygor Catatau

Ygor Catatau scored his second goal for Mumbai City after coming off the bench against Bengaluru FC. When asked about whether it will be a problem to keep him benched after this, Buckingham admitted that it’s a complication that he is delighted to have.

“It’s a good problem to have! When you have players coming on and making an impact, that’s what you want from them. If he continues to do what he’s doing right now, it won’t be long before he’s in the starting XI,” the tactician said.

If defeat to Hyderabad FC worked as a boost

The 36-year-old also spoke about whether the loss to Hyderabad FC could have been the necessary boost his side needed to excel in the ongoing season. “I thought we played quite well against Hyderabad. They were a very good team and very well-coached. We didn’t take the chances and they did,” he opined.

“As I’ve said all along, I want the team to be getting better every game and every week. It’s fantastic how open the players are towards what we’re trying to do with them. We’re starting to see real elements of that on the field. It was a different challenge tonight, but then again that’s just how this competition goes,” he concluded.

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