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ISL 2022/23: We have a very hungry group of players, says Mumbai City coach Des Buckingham ahead of opening match

Mumbai, Oct 7 (IANS) Mumbai City FC are set to play their first game of the 2022/23 Indian Super League (ISL) campaign against reigning champions Hyderabad FC at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune on Sunday. And coach Des Buckingham said they are in a much better place than they were 12 months ago.

Mumbai City FC’s Coach Des Buckingham and club Captain Mourtada Fall in a virtual press conference spoke about the preparedness of the squad and the ISL season that is on the horizon.

At a press conference on Friday, Mumbai City FC’s coach Des Buckingham and club Captain Mourtada Fallspoke about the team’s preparation going into the first game of the new ISL campaign.

“We wanted to start the 2022 Durand Cup in the same way we finished the Champions League in terms of how we played. We are in a much better place than we were 12 months ago. We’ve had eight weeks of pre-season. We’ve also had seven competitive games at the 2022 Durand Cup, in which we performed brilliantly.

“We’ve been able to get some good minutes into all of our players over that period of time, so in terms of preparation and making sure we’re as prepared as we can be during that time. I’m very happy with the club and what we have set out to achieve this year,” he said.

“I believe we can be as successful as we want but the first thing, we have to make sure of is that if we approach every game as well as we can and if we do that, we’ll put ourselves at the right end of the table at the right time of the year,” he added.

Buckingham went on to add, “We have a very hungry group of players here at the club. We’ve added some other players into that group that you see and they are very keen to add to our playing style, add to the way that we want to continue trying to win games.”

Club Captain Mourtada Fall also spoke about how the players have been improving over the course of not only the pre-season but the last 12 months as the towering defender.

“I think all our players are really good. Players that have improved a lot over the last few years or months, especially the Indian players that have been playing with the national team. I sit down with a lot of the young players and try to help them with my experience to make them a little bit cautious.

“Also, they always are looking to work on themselves to improve. So, I think they can do a fantastic job in the upcoming season. I think we have gelled well as a squad; we can do the job and will be targeting the double this season,” he added.

Coach Buckingham went on to talk about how important a factor the crowd returning to the stadiums is and expressed his delight at seeing them.

“It’s now about becoming used to going back to what football used to look like with the crowds in the stadiums. We had 15,000 to 24,000 people in the stands for a couple of the games in the Durand Cup which was surreal. So, when you get that energy from the stadium and from those fans, whether it’s creating goal-scoring moments or saves in matches, it certainly has an impact on the game itself, the tempo of the players and their energy levels.”

–IANS

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