The two teams have been in contrasting form this season.

Mumbai City FC will look to bounce back from their defeat against Kerala Blasters, as they face NorthEast United on January 27 at the Fatorda Stadium. NorthEast are lagging behind in ninth position on the table, with just seven points in eight matches. They’ll face the league leaders who were on a five-match unbeaten streak, before the defeat to Kerala Blasters. Under Khalid Jamil, have been the second-worst defence in the league, leaking in 16 goals in their eight matches. On the other hand, Des Buckingham’s side have scored the most goals in the league this season, with Igor Angulo netting five goals in seven matches. Hence, it will be quite a stern test for NorthEast United.

Ahead of the clash, both teams’ head coaches and Mumbai City’s Rahul Bheke spoke in the pre-match press conference. Here are the excerpts:

Khalid Jamil (NorthEast United)

Preparations for Mumbai City FC

Khalid Jamil: “The way we prepare for this game is going to be very important. We’ve got enough time for recovery and everybody is fresh. We’re ready for this match and we’ve to fight to get the three points.”

Team news

Khalid Jamil: “Khassa Camara is injured. Deshorn Brown will be back and Remaining players are available.”

Thoughts on Mumbai City FC

Khalid Jamil: “They’re at the the top of the table and are definitely a good team. It’s not impossible that we can’t beat them, of course we can beat them. We’ve to concentrate in our game and believe ourselves, we must fight and play as a team.”

Strength of his team

Khalid Jamil: “Everybody is trying hard and that’s a good things. We only need a little bit of luck and all the players must be available. We’ve always missed a player in the matches we have played so far.”

Injuries 

Khalid Jamil: “Injuries are a part and parcel of the game. Anything can happen because it’s a physical game and we’re playing continuous matches. They’re many reasons behind an injury, not just one reason.”

Rahul Bheke (Mumbai City) :

On his journey so far in the ISL as he approaches his 100th appearance

Rahul Bheke: “So far it’s been an incredible journey for me. (I) started from Kerala  Blasters and now I’m playing for my home team. It’s a huge milestone in my career. But, it’s important that tomorrow we have a good game. Personally, it’s a huge milestone, but an important game for our team. We have to bounce back to our winning ways.”

Advice to younger players to reach such a milestone.

Rahul Bheke: “Obviously, the players, youngsters who are coming up and trying to do their best are helping the teams. So, my only guidance for them will be that they keep working hard, be patient and always be ready to help the team whenever they’re needed. That’s the one thing I would like to tell the youngsters.”

Des Buckingham (Mumbai City):

On whether there’s a plan B for teams that press the Mumbai midfield, to try and dictate a game.

Des Buckingham: “Yes, we do and it’ll be on full view, I hope tomorrow. If teams want to press our two sixes, we need to take advantage of the other spaces. That’s something we’ve worked hard (for). We’ve had a bit of a break over the last six or seven days. But, we’ve trained 4-5 times on the field.

“So, we’ll continue to adapt and develop our style. That includes making sure that we’ve got different ways (of playing) ; if we can’t play through teams, with the two sixes, we need to be better at playing around or over at times. If we can’t do the first one, we’ll take the better option, that is the second, before we can go back to playing through.”

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