Mumbai City FC head coach Des Buckingham believes they need to tighten their defense in transition moments after a nail-biting 3-3 draw against NorthEast United FC in the 42nd match of the ongoing Hero Indian Super League at the PJN Stadium, Fatorda on Monday.
The reigning champions talisman Igor Angulo scored a brace for his team in the 33rd and 52nd minute while Bipin Singh scored in the 40th minute of the game. However, NorthEast United FC were able to share the spoils as Deshorn Brown scored an impeccable hat-trick as he was at his absolute best.
Des Buckingham said after the team’s first draw of the season in the post-match press conference, “Like you said, it was our first draw, and I thought we controlled the game for large periods. But what they did was they hit us on the transitional moments. I feel the first goal was at least five yards off-side. And then we need to defend better for the second two (goals). So yes, we want to play a certain way and they have demands both physically and otherwise. But when we attack, we also need to make sure that we are set up defensively”.
Mumbai City FC have conceded 13 goals thus far while they have scored 20 in the ongoing season. The defending champions have conceded six goals in their last two matches and they will certainly need to pull up their socks in the defense.
Buckingham added, “I think in an ideal world, you wouldn’t want to concede any. That’s not football, the way we play and the way we want to play is expansive. We create width and we create length. And it does put the ball at risk at times, but we’re willing to put the ball at risk if we’re defensively set up when we have those moments. And there were key moments tonight, whether it’s decisions or it’s just, I’m not sure what it might be, but just making sure that we are defensively organised even when we have the ball, just in case we lose it. So we make sure there’s no chances for the opponents easily”.
Mumbai City FC gaffer revealed that his players had put in the hard yards in the training sessions after suffering a 3-0 hammering against Kerala Blasters in their seventh match of the season.
He continued, “They’ve been fantastic. In the last week we spent four or five sessions on the training field, which is the first time we’ve had that time this season. And we’ve worked on a few things that are going to be useful to us in this game and going forward. So they’ve been really good to work with and I’ve seen. It was frustrating tonight. We showed real glimpses of some real good moments, and now it’s about consistency and just tightening up those transition moments to make sure that we don’t give opportunities to the other teams”.
Mumbai City will next face Odisha FC on Monday at the Tilak Maidan Stadium.