Vikram Pratap & Hardik Bhatt talk up winning Super Cup start, All-Indian squad & more!

With a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Churchill Brothers under their belt, Mumbai City FC turn their attention to their next challenge against NorthEast United FC on Saturday as they look to build further momentum in the ongoing Super Cup.

The Islanders’ all-Indian squad is brimming with confidence after they were successfully able to break down a resolute Churchill Brothers defence in their first group stage game of the domestic cup competition, beating the I League side from Goa 2-1.

A series of standout individual performances were on display from the likes of Hardik Bhatt, Vikram Pratap Singh, Mehtab Singh, and Rowlin Borges as Des Buckingham’s side showed excellent fighting spirit to secure the victory after going a goal down very early on in the game.

Ahead of their second outing against NorthEast United, Mumbai native and right-back Hardik Bhatt and versatile attacker Vikram Pratap Singh spoke about the team’s preparedness for the Super Cup and their prospects in the tournament.

Following the victory against Churchill Brothers, Hardik expressed his joy on getting a chance to represent Mumbai City FC, his hometown club at a top tier tournament. “It’s always great to be on the pitch, especially since I was on the pitch after quite some time. I did not want the game to get over, I was just enjoying myself so much! It was a great win and a great start to our Super Cup campaign. It was also a good opportunity to review our strengths and weaknesses early on in the tournament”, said Hardik.

The 25-year-old spoke about the team’s performance and what he was happy with but also conceded that there were areas of improvement that he would strive to focus on. “Our performance was good but we did make a few mistakes. As a team, we are never fully satisfied with our performance. There’s always something that we can work on. We’re always ready to put in the work because we want to get better with each game – something the coach has instilled in us.”

His teammate Vikram Partap Singh, echoed Hardik’s confidence about the Islanders’ Super Cup prospects. “The first game was important for us, we are feeling good after the victory. It is a huge opportunity for a lot of us, so everybody wants to give their best performance”, said Vikram.

“If you look at our players, most of them are one of the best, if not the best, in their respective positions in India. Us, as a group, we have a great understanding with each other so we believe we are a strong team that can achieve a lot. Coach Buckingham has also helped us to push ourselves constantly as a unit so that we can be the best versions of ourselves”, added the 21-year old.

Looking ahead at the game against NorthEast United and the subsequent clash against Chennayin FC, Hardik Bhatt said their preparation will remain consistent, approaching each game on its own merit. He concluded that, “We always approach games in a similar fashion. We do analyse their games as well, but we choose to focus on our game and concentrate on how we can progress and develop our games even more. We don’t focus too much on how they are going to play but we try to focus on what we do. The focus is on us and that’s how we’re going to take it. So, it’s just another game and we must do what we do best, and push till the last minute.”

Mumbai City FC will play NorthEast United FC in the second game of Group D of the Super Cup at the Payyanad Stadium in Manjeri with the game set to kick-off at 8.30pm IST on April 15.

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