ISL 2018-19: Assistant Coach Syed Pasha Confident Chennaiyin Can Bounce Back Against Mumbai City
Ahead of a crucial clash against sixth-placed Mumbai City, Chennaiyin FC assistant coach Syed Sabir Pasha told the press the defending Indian Super League champions would turn things around if they managed to convert chances.
Chennaiyin sit second from bottom having earned a solitary point in the 0-0 draw with the winless Delhi Dynamos. The former India international forward, who filled in for the unwell John Gregory at the pre-match press conference, believes they can climb up the table if they start converting chances.
"We've been missing chances," he admitted. "Performance-wise, we've been doing really good. We're not short on creating chances. When it comes to defence, lack of concentration is why we've conceded goals. If we start converting the chances, we'll climb up the table."
Chennaiyin had a season to forget in 2016, a year after winning the title, finishing second bottom. Asked if they have developed a Second Season Syndrome, he said: "John wants a repeat of last season. Every coach is trying to do that.
"We haven't been winning as much this season, unfortunately. We'll still try to replicate what we've done last year. Many have given up on us already, just like they did in Marco Materazzi's second season here.
"We bounced back in the last six games to win the title then. You can't write us off yet, as we're very confident we'll bounce back."
Mumbai City haven't won away from home despite registering back-to-back 2-0 wins at home. Pasha, however, said they won't be taking them lightly given their respect for them.
"Everybody only cares about results," he said. "However, when you analyse games, you'll realize they're just like us. They've been doing well. In the first half against FC Goa, they showed how dangerous they are.
"In all other matches they've lost, they've looked good like Chennai did against ATK in our 2-0 loss. We respect them and won't take them lightly. We'll have our strongest team against them, as will they. They have a strong side, so it won't be an easy game tomorrow."
'We respect Chennai': Mumbai City coach Jorge Costa
Mumbai City coach Jorge Costa, while mirroring the respect, is keen on securing his first away win of the campaign.
"We have a difficult game tomorrow," he admitted. "We respect Chennai. It's true that they haven't started so well this season, but they have very good players and a very good coach. We must try to do our best, so we can go back home with three points."
The Islanders bounced back after a humiliating 5-0 loss against FC Goa, beating Delhi Dynamos 2-0. And the former player and Champions League winner wants his side to be consistent.
"After the Goa game, I said we had a very good first half," he said. "We had six to eight clear-cut chances to score. I wasn't happy with the last 20-25 minutes as we'd given up.
"We then had a very good game at home, securing a very important win," he continued. "Now I want the team to be consistent in terms of results because the league is close, with clubs separated just by a single point. It's important to be there in the middle."