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'We have respect for Goa but we also have faith in our own abilities', Owen Coyle exudes confidence ahead of second leg against FC Goa | ISL 2019-20

  • Chennaiyin FC won the first leg 4-1 and now have the chance to complete a spectacular turnaround by entering the ISL final.
EXPERT COLUMNIST
News
Modified 06 Mar 2020, 16:42 IST

Coyle was a picture of confidence prior to the clash against FC Goa
Coyle was a picture of confidence prior to the clash against FC Goa

On the 29th of February, Chennaiyin FC, despite the odds being stacked against them, produced a stellar second-half performance to blitz past FC Goa and establish a three-goal cushion heading into the second leg of their ISL semi-final.

Subsequently, their coach, Owen Coyle was grinning from ear to ear and on the eve of the reverse fixture, and the Irishman echoed similar sentiments, stating,

When you have any advantage, it’s obviously good. But we need to be at our very best and if we do that, we know we have the capability to win games. We have to make sure that we see it [advantage] through and that certainly presents its own challenges.

Furthermore, Coyle talked about how his team needed to be on their guard to ensure that no mishaps took place at Fatorda on Saturday, despite carrying a 4-1 lead from the first leg.

We are playing against a very good team and a team that finished in the No.1 position in the league stages. We have huge respect for them but we also need to have confidence in our abilities. We are nine games unbeaten now and we garnered the most points in the league from our last eight league matches.

Additionally, the Irishman was asked about what challenges FC Goa’s returning players, namely Brandon Fernandes, Edu Bedia and Hugo Boumous posed. Coyle replied that he expected the trio to add a different dimension to the Gaurs’ attack and present a sterner challenge for the Marina Machans, although he retained faith in his rear-guard.

Months ago, Chennaiyin FC found themselves in absolute turmoil, wherein they couldn’t buy a victory on the road and were often guilty of ceding the initiative. In fact, they’d mustered a grand total of 0 wins away from home between November 2018 and January 2020.

However, Coyle took over and masterminded a gargantuan turnaround, which culminated with the Marina Machans winning four out of their final five away encounters, including clutch clashes at Kolkata and Mumbai.

Prior to the Hyderabad game, we hadn’t won away since November 2018. We come here at a difficult venue but we’ve shown that we have different aspects to our game, as we showed against ATK and Mumbai City FC. Now, our job is to remain focused and produce our best performance.”
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To put things into perspective, things had gone downhill pretty swiftly under Coyle’s predecessor, with the squad and the style of play seeming stale. And, Andre Schembri talked on similar lines, mentioning,

For sure, a change in management was important for us. There was a change in philosophy, there was a change in the mindset. But, most importantly, there was a change in the culture of the club. And, I believe in that a lot as culture gives a side sustainability and I hope we can continue with our strong performances.

Thus, just a day before Chennaiyin FC’s biggest encounter, Coyle and Schembri talked vividly on the facets that had enabled them to scale such peaks to find themselves in an enviable position.

However, both stressed the importance of ticking all the requisite boxes to ensure that they didn’t undo all the hard work they’ve put in over the past few months.

And, on that evidence, one reckons that the Marina Machans are in pretty good stead to face the FC Goa onslaught come Saturday. 

Published 06 Mar 2020, 16:42 IST
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