The Mumbai-born midfielder reflects on the Islanders' mixed bag of a start to the 2021/22 season.

“Like Ted Lasso says, be a goldfish”: Raynier Fernandes

After defeating FC Goa 3-0 in their first game of Indian Super League 2021/22, defending champions Mumbai City FC stumbled in their second game of the campaign. The Islanders suffered a 1-3 loss against Hyderabad FC at the Fatorda Stadium in Goa on Saturday. Ahmed Jahouh put Mumbai City in front in the 6th minute of the match, but Joao Victor converted from the spot just six minutes later, followed by second-half goals from Bartholomew Ogbeche and Rohit Danu to give Hyderabad FC their first win over Mumbai City in the ISL.

The club's trusted and versatile midfielder, Raynier Fernandes sat down with us as he expressed his views on the results so far. "We had a good start to the season by getting three points and it was great to start with a win picking up from how we ended last year. Unfortunately, in the second game, it was not our day as we could not deliver and take our chances. The team performed well overall, but we have to look into the small details and rectify them in training sessions to be ready for the next game," he said.

Mumbai City are preparing to face ATK Mohun Bagan on Wednesday. The Kolkata-based club are a familiar foe for the Islanders, considering the Mariners came closest to challenging Mumbai City for both, the League Winners’ Shield and the Trophy last season. However, ATKMB will prove to be a tricky opposition this time around, having strengthened their squad over the summer and have started the 2021/22 season with back to back wins.

"The last game was a setback but we don't have to think about it in the next game because it's going to be a fresh start. There's going to be a new team (against us), a new challenge and we just have to keep our focus strong in training and in the game. We need to be more prepared, mentally and physically fit and just have to focus and work hard in training. The important thing is that we have to follow the plan the coach is asking of us and give our 100%”," Raynier said.

The 25-year-old Mumbai lad played a key role in earning major honours for the team last season. Raynier was asked about his individual responsibility for the team but he stressed more on the collectiveness of the group for those performances.

"A single player cannot do everything. It's a team game. So for me, I just have to work hard and deliver in my training session and in my matches. The main thing is that I need to focus on my own goal, which is what I want to do for the team and try to positively contribute as much as I can on the pitch," he said.

Speaking on the Islanders’ new head coach Des Buckingham, Raynier asserted that he has fitted in well into the ideas of the 36-year old Englishman, who replaced Sergio Lobera ahead of the new season.

"It has been amazing. The pre-season went well with the new coach and his staff. He has plans for the team, which are helping us get better every single day. We are trying to do our best according to the plans, but it's just the start. The coach has been a great source of motivation. For him, it’s important that we keep the ball, use it well and most importantly, always have a positive and winning mentality. It's good for the team because we gain confidence in training and it gets easier when we’re playing our games. He helps not just the youngsters but also the players who have been here for a while. It feels great to work with a coach like him," Raynier added.

Lastly, the Islanders’ number 11 urged his side to shake off the loss in the previous game and look forward.

"I go back to a quote from Ted Lasso, the show, where he urges his players to be like goldfish – the happiest animal in the world – because they have a 10 second memory. It’s important that we forget about the last game, it’s in the past now. If we keep thinking about the past, it becomes harder for us to get the momentum back.”

“Our focus is now on looking forward to the game against ATK Mohun Bagan. We need to be mindful of the errors we made against Hyderabad FC and we need to rectify those errors. We need to be mentally and physically fit to go out there and deliver on Wednesday," Raynier signed off.