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ISL 2016: We are going to face Kerala with an aggressive mentality, says Chennaiyin FC manager Marco Materazzi

Chennaiyin FC manager Marco Materazzi held his press conference ahead of his team's much-awaited clash with rivals Kerala Blasters.

Marco Materazzi
Marco Materazzi wants his side to take the game to Kerala(Image courtesy: ISL)

The much awaited South Indian derby between Chennaiyin FC and Kerala Blasters will be taking place on Saturday. Former Inter Milan player and current Chennai manager Marco Materazzi held his press conference ahead of the game.

The defending champions, who will be the home team on Saturday, had two away matches before this and were able to come home with four points out of the possible six. Chennaiyin FC got past North-East United but were held to a 1-1 draw against FC Pune City. It was the Super Machans who were leading until the 82nd minute but Pune's Anibal Zurdo ruined the party for the visitors. 

Chennai manager Materazzi was happy with his team's performance but at the same time, he was also upset that the team lost two points against Pune. The Italian believes that if the team had been a little smarter they would have come home with all 3 points.

Also read: ISL 2016: 7 unsung heroes in season three of the Indian Super League so far 

"I am happy about the performance, but I am also upset because we lost two points (in the last game against Pune). It was actually a free-kick in our favour but then we weren't smart enough and it turned around to be against us, so I am upset about it. If we were a little smarter, then we would be talking about two away games with two victories," Materazzi said.

Chennai captain Bernard Mendy and marquee player John Arne Riise are Materazzi's preferred centre-back pairing, but the two players failed to perform in the team's first two fixtures. Since then Materazzi has been rotating the duo within the team. The 28-year-old center back Eli Sabia was also brought into the team in the last two matches and it worked out well.

‘Whoever deserves to play will play’

The 43-year-old manager was asked if this rotation is going to be regular or if he did it only because of the tight schedule. To this, the Italian replied that for him the team comes before the players and he will play the players who deserve to play. "Eli (Sabia) has shown a lot of quality in defence. We all know that the basic couple is Mendy and Riise but I cannot praise enough Montero and Eli for being so professionals and really acting like real men in and off the pitch,” he stated. 

"As I have said before whoever deserves to play will play but the thing that changed is that my whole team knows that the team comes before the player. Maybe this was lacking in the previous two seasons but all my players are mature enough to understand this and Mendy has shown this,” Materazzi went on to add.

Chennaiyin FC will be playing their arch rivals Kerala Blasters FC on Saturday and the team have given them great memories, bitter and sweet. When he was asked if any of the previous encounters with the men in yellow play in his mind, Materazzi said that none of the past games have any influence on the upcoming games. The Italian legend also praised the maturity of his players.

"Previous games don't have any influence in the next game because if it did, we would have lost the previous games. After the Delhi game (where Chennai lost 3-1) I was really disappointed. Maybe it was the worst thing I have ever had in this three years of ISL, but I think my players are mature enough to change their attitude and they proved it on the pitch," the Chennaiyin FC manager explained.

‘Face the game with aggressive mentality’

Materazzi pointed out that the next games, which will be played in Chennai, are really important for them because they will have to take maximum advantage of the home games. He also stated that the team cannot afford to slow down because the other teams could catch up soon.

"I think that we have to take advantage of the home games. Even though we knew that if we had won against Pune we would have gone on top of the table, it didn't happen. So, we have to get back on track to change the mentality once again. We are going to face the game with an aggressive mentality. 

"In this league, you can never stop. FC Goa is not in a good position now but they are a really good team and they are not out. So if you stop, maybe the teams who are in a lower position will keep up. So you keep on training keep on going like this and you try to win as many (matches) as possible," Materazzi said.

The South Indian derby is always a game to watch out for and this time it will be of great significance because both teams are level on points. Saturday's match is definitely going to be an entertainer.

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