The defending champions of the Indian Super League, Chennaiyin FC, have not had the best of starts to their 2016 season. Chennaiyin FC are winless after their first two games and have picked up just one point.
The last game they played was a devastating 3-1 loss to the Delhi Dynamos, where they were brushed aside comfortably in front of their home fans. Speaking to the media ahead of their next game, coach Marco Materazzi was looking forward to his side bouncing back in the next game.
“It's very important to bounce back”, said Materazzi.
“Last year, we were in an even worse position than now. So tomorrow we have to show that we still have it and that we can win,” the coach added to show that it wasn't all doom and gloom just yet.
He refused to be drawn into a debate on whether the fault for the slow start lay with the retained players or the new ones, saying it had more to do with the mentality.
Win as a team, lose as a team, says Materazzi
“As I've said before, you win as a team and lose as a team. It's not about the individuals, it's about the mentality. The mentality makes the difference. You can have the technical skills, but if don't fight, you cannot win.
“We didn't show this in the last two matches and I'm going to tell this to my players before the game that they need to have the hunger and will to win,” Materazzi pointed out regarding his message to the players.
Chennaiyin have so far conceded late goals in both games. Against Kolkata away, they were leading 2-1 and gave away a penalty in the 86th minute through which the hosts equalised, and in the last game at home, they conceded in the 84th minute, putting the game beyond Chennaiyin’s reach.
Materazzi on Chennaiyin’s late goals conceded
Asked about his side's finish in both the games, Materazzi said he had no problems with the opening game, but accepted his side ran out of gas in the second.
“If you’re talking about the last game (vs Delhi), you’re totally right, we didn't have that something in the end, but the Kolkata game, I didn't see it that way. We were losing, then we bounced back, we were leading and we conceded that goal. Still, in the final minutes, we had many chances.”
Keen to make a comeback, Materazzi has a fully fit squad to choose from, which he claimed was never a bad thing. He also mentioned that he had spent the time between games reflecting a lot on his decisions.
“They are all available. It is a good thing for a manager or a head coach when he can choose. I've had some time to think about the last game, to think about my choices and as I've said before whoever deserves to play, will play.”
“And if I had the chance to change all the eleven players from the last game, actually twelve including me, I would have done it. The regulations say I can only change three. As I said, I've had time to think about it, and now it's up to show what we can do tomorrow,” added Materazzi, his statement clearly expressing his sense of frustration with what went down in the last match, branding it the “the worst game ever in the three seasons we've had.”
Their next opponents will be the team they beat in the final to lift the trophy, FC Goa.
The Goan outfit too haven't made a good start, having lost both of their matches so far. It is a clash of the two early strugglers. Materazzi said he expected Goa to show a lot of effort because of the result from last year's final, but mentioned that his side would match that as they were coming off of a bad loss too.
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