No pressure of expectations, says Des Buckingham
CHENNAI: The ISL League Winners Shield holder Jamshedpur FC could not keep hold of its giant – Scottish technician Greg Stewart.
Kerala Blasters FC failed to retain the architect of some cracking goals last campaign – Argentine attacker Jorge Pereyra Diaz.
And, FC Goa had to part ways with one of its gems – Spanish stylist Alberto Noguera.
Reason? Mumbai City FC’s one hell of a job off the pitch. After a season of highs and lows – where the club performed exceedingly well in the AFC Champions League but disappointed in the Indian Super League – Mumbai City took the summer transfer window by storm, recruiting the terrific trio of Stewart, Diaz and Noguera.
Having added fire power to an already strong cast, MCFC is expected to succeed in the 2022-23 season, which kick-started with the Durand Cup on Tuesday. But, head coach Des Buckingham is relaxed and emphasised that his team is under “no pressure” since other ISL clubs have also made high-profile signings.
“We had the opportunity to recruit from within the league and outside. I have worked across the world in the last 10 years. Players, foreigners in particular, can take time to adapt to a new country or a new league. We looked at players who would suit our style of play,” Buckingham said at a virtual press conference on Tuesday.
“They (Stewart, Diaz and Noguera) have adapted to the Indian football scene and the way of living here (India). They have also put in performances pretty consistently. It made real sense. They ticked a lot of boxes on how we wanted to play. I was very keen on signing them. They (new foreign signings) complement Ahmed Jahouh and Mourtada Fall. I am very happy with our recruitment. We have strengthened the squad as much as we can, but the other clubs have done that as well,” added Buckingham.
“I have seen some of the signings by other clubs. Some fantastic signings have stayed within the league and some have come into it. I think that the league itself has become stronger and the teams within it have got stronger as well. It will be an interesting season for sure, not only for us but also for everyone else.”
Talking about Mumbai City’s upcoming campaign that will begin with the Durand Cup, Buckingham said: “We want to pick up from where we left off in the Champions League last season. We want to continue to build our brand of football.”