ISL 2016: I am a magician, says Chennaiyin FC manager Marco Materazzi
The defending Indian Super League champions Chennaiyin FC will be back in action against Mumbai City FC on Wednesday. The match will be taking place just three days after Chennai's derby game against Kerala Blasters and it will be a big challenge for the team. However, if the Super Machans manage to win the game, it will get them level on points with league leaders Atletico de Kolkata.
Chennaiyin FC manager Marco Materazzi faced the media in a pre-match press conference ahead of Wednesday's game and spoke about various issues.
Chennai are currently placed fifth on the points table, however, a win by a two-goal margin against Mumbai will see them go on top of the table. Wednesday's game is a very good opportunity for the defending champions to be the league leaders, but Materazzi made it clear in his press conference that he doesn't care if his team wins by two goals or not. The Italian also said that his focus is on taking the team into the playoffs.
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"I don't care if we win by two goals or not. What matters is to get to the playoffs and that's what we are focused on," Materazzi said.
“Quality of the tournament has gone up”
The fact that the fifth-placed Chennaiyin FC could go on top of the table if they win by a two-goal margin shows how tight the points table is. This raises the question whether the tight points table is a result of the quality of the tournament or is it because the teams have failed to step up this season. Materazzi was of the opinion that the quality of the Indian Super League has gone up and he thinks that is the reason why there are a lot of draws this season.
"My opinion is that the quality of the tournament has gone up and this is why we have so many draws. The points table being so close is actually the symptom of the quality of the tournament going up," the former Inter Milan player said.
We are at the halfway stage of the tournament and the next half is going to be crucial for all the teams. Materazzi was asked if he would be telling his players to go for the kill now onwards and face each game as if they are the finals. To this, the 43-year-old replied that he has considered every game in his life as a final. The Italian added that in a tournament like the Indian Super League, every game is crucial and they will have to treat each game like a final.
I am a magician, says Materazzi
"Since my birth, all games have been a final for me. If I wasn't like this, I would not have won the World Cup. I think that all of the coaches are like magicians. I am also a magician. We got a clean sheet in the last game. The draw was a fair result for both the teams. In this kind of tournament, if you win the next game you are on top of the table and if you lose you are fifth. So, we take every game as a final and we will give everything we can," the Italian legend explained.
Mumbai City FC's marquee player Diego Forlan will be the main threat for Chennaiyin FC on Wednesday and Materazzi believes that his team will have to defend as a unit to stop a player like Forlan. The Chennai manager added that the striker is capable of taking advantage of every mistake his team makes and has to stop that from happening.
"You need the whole team to stop a player like Forlan. One single player is not enough because as soon as you make a mistake he is going to score for sure. What gives us motivation is that each of my players knows it is an honour to play against a champion like him. I think this is a positive because they want to show me and everybody that they have what it takes to counter a champion like him," Materazzi said about the threat his team will be facing from Forlan.
The former Italian center back also gave an update on his team's injury status. Materazzi said that foreigners John Arne Riise and Hans Mulder are not available, but Indian midfielder Thoi Singh is in a good condition.
Wednesday's game will be very important for Chennaiyin FC because at the end of the game they could be sitting on the top of the table. It will be a great boost for the team to go into the second round of the tournament as the league toppers.
However, for that to happen the South Indian club will have to make sure that they have a two-goal lead and keep the likes of Forlan and Sony Norde at bay.