The Islanders thrashed the Mariners 5-1 in the reverse fixture but are winless in six games now.

Mumbai City will hope to end their six-match winless run when they face ATK Mohun Bagan in Indian Super League 2021-22 on Thursday. Des Buckingham’s side last won on December 15 against Chennaiyin FC. Since then the Islanders have played six and drawn and lost three each. Despite their recent woes, Mumbai City are well in contention for the top four and can make the fourth place their own with a victory at the Fatorda. The math is quite similar for Juan Ferrando’s men, who are a place and a point above the Islanders.

ATK Mohun Bagan have 19 points from 11 matches, while Mumbai City have played 12 matches for their 18 points. The Mariners are currently unbeaten in seven games, but are yet to win against the Islanders in their short ISL history. They were thrashed 1-5 in the reverse fixture.

Ahead of the match coaches Des Buckingham and Juan Ferrando addressed the media and spoke on the upcoming match at the pre-match conference.

Mumbai City coach Des Buckingham

What attributes new signings Diego Mauricio and Lallianzuala Chhangte will add to the team?

Des Buckingham: I’m really happy with the signings that we’ve made. Not just for the two that you’ve mentioned, but for the four that we’ve brought in during the transfer window. I think they’ll strengthen our squad for the last eight games of the regular league season and also the (AFC) Champions League squad. I’m very thankful to the club for their support in bringing those players in.

In terms of the players, you just mentioned, Diego I feel will add some quality in that final third. He will help us continue scoring goals the way we would like. Chhangte just brings a different skill set to our frontline. You know with Bipin and Vikram, you know we have a lot of pace and a lot of quality. And with Chhangte, he really suits the style of football that we want to play. He gives us a different option should we want to change something either within the game or to start the game.

Thoughts on ATK Mohun Bagan and the win over them in the reverse fixture 

Des Buckingham: You know I’m looking forward to the game. We have only played one game in nearly three weeks due to different reasons. We’re just all looking forward to playing the game. They’ve obviously been a different team from the last time we played them at the start of the season.

With a different head coach and way of working; we’re aware of that. But it’s been about making sure that we are as ready as we can be for the game. Whether it be the new additions that have come in or the players that are already playing, we make sure that for the last eight games of the season, we go as strong as we can. We’re just looking forward to playing.

Updates on the availability of players and if there are any Covid scares in the camp

Des Buckingham: We had a covid scare leading into the game against NorthEast, where it really impacted our preparation for the game and some players’ availability as you would have seen. We didn’t really wanna get into that at the time; we just wanted and needed to focus on the game. But looking at that game, first half I was really proud of the team and the way that they adapted despite the challenges we were faced with three or four days leading in and on matchday itself.

So it’s just important that we focus on tomorrow’s game. We’re (chuckles) still assessing a few things here. We’re still under heavy restrictions in our own bubble. But we’re doing as much as we possibly can to prepare the players as well as we can for the game tomorrow.

ATK Mohun Bagan coach Juan Ferrado

Confidence in the team after Kolkata Derby win

Juan Ferrando: I think we regard every game with the same importance. Every game is totally different because the situation is not normal. Maybe some people think that after the kind of win from the last game, we’ll be more confident for the next one. No, because to be honest we have not prepared in the training sessions, sometimes players are in quarantine, some are struggling with injuries and it’s difficult. The emotions for us when we are travelling in buses or when we are in rooms are better to draw or lose. It’s difficult to think about being more confident for such games.

Expectations from Kiyan Nassiri in upcoming games

Juan Ferrando: He needs to continue working hard to improve. Of course, I’m happy because he was able to control the spaces, he was in the action and his finishing was great. But he needs to improve with his pressing, with the timing of his passes and it’s normal. This is our target. But with every game, it’ll be necessary to take things easy. I understand that our supporters are very happy and also for the team it’s good because he is working his way to success. But we need time and need to keep calm in order to protect him.

Thoughts on Mumbai City FC and the big loss against them

Juan Ferrando: It’s a totally different game at this moment. The team has only worked with me for two weeks, because one week we were in quarantine and like that. The league at this moment is crazy. Everyone can win against each other. The most important thing is to be clear with your plan. If we think like that, maybe we’ll be successful.

In the end, it’s a new game for 90 minutes. It’s not necessary to think about the past. In football, one good thing is that you are in the present all the time and you can think about the future. The past is the past. Of course sometimes it is necessary to learn, but it’s unnecessary to think too much about what happened a few games ago. It’s not necessary.

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