Coyle promises a Chennaiyin team which excites and represents fans

Football fans from across the country will be eagerly awaiting Chennaiyin FC’s match against Jamshedpur FC this Monday with Owen Coyle set to make his Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) debut as head coach of the Southerners. The former Burnley and Bolton Wanderers manager was appointed as Chennaiyin’s head coach earlier in the week and Coyle expressed his excitement at being a part of the Marina Machans family.

“I must say I’m very honoured and privileged to be the head coach of this brilliant Hero ISL club. A club that’s already had success with two Hero ISL titles. I now have the chance to come in and work with some very good people and a fantastic fanbase. I know the fans are passionate and love the club, which is great. I must say I’m really excited and looking forward to the challenge,” Coyle said in an interview with the chennaiyinfc website.

Passion as Coyle found out runs right through Chennaiyin FC, starting from the top brass to the kitman and fans. “I’ve had some very good conversations with the club co-owners Vita Dani and Abhishek Bachchan. I could tell how passionate they are and how much love and care they have for the club. And I think that’s very important. There’s no doubt they are honourable people, which was a big attraction,” he said.

Coyle added, “Their ambition, passion and the outline for the club struck home to me that this is a club on the way up; that has had success but at the same time wants to get back to that level again. I look forward to coming in and playing my part and helping the players and the club in continuing to build the brand. Ultimately, you want Chennaiyin FC to be known globally. The only way to do that is to keep building. There’s a good solid platform here. We have to enhance things and make them better.”

Judging by his comments on what to expect from his Chennaiyin side, fans are in for exciting times. “I think the fans will see a team that excites them, and more importantly a team that represents them. A team they can feel proud of and think “I love being part of this club”. We want everyone who walks through the door to feel the love for the club, that connection. The team, the owners, the fans, for that connection to be very strong. This is a special club and to be a part of this club is a real privilege and a great feeling,” Coyle said.

When pressed for his thoughts on the Hero ISL, he revealed, “I’ve followed the Hero ISL over the years, since its inception, truth be told. As there have always been many friends and colleagues involved in it. I have played with some of the coaches who’ve been at the Hero ISL, Steve Coppell and Phil Brown for instance. Phil and I played together at Bolton Wanderers and even competed against each other in the Premier League. There’s also a few of my former players here currently. So, I am aware about the league and how the brand has grown over the years. And this is another wonderful opportunity, coming to a wonderful club like Chennaiyin.”

Chennaiyin are second from bottom in the standings currently, but Coyle insisted that a change in momentum will lead to a change in fortunes for his team. “I think there are some very good players here. Our job is to try and get them to the maximum level. They have showed potential but now we have to get the level of their performance up, to turn those draws into three points. And when you can win games, it’s obviously shown that you can catapult up the league. The other thing that is very important in football is momentum. If you can get on that run it would be great,” he said.

Recalling some of Chennaiyin exploits from past seasons, Coyle said, “The club has shown in previous seasons that they have found the momentum and gone on a winning run. Obviously, we start with two tough away games (against Jamshedpur FC and NorthEast United FC), but it is important to instil that positive mentality and belief. That as a group we can win. I think we have talented individuals, but our strength will be as a group always. It’s a team sport, it’s about everyone pulling together in the same direction and giving their absolute everything on a daily basis on the training ground and in the matches.”

The 53-year-old also made it clear that hard work, a good attitude and dedication will be the only way forward for his players. “Our players are backed by fantastic owners and more importantly a fanatic fanbase who absolutely love the club. We have to make sure that as a group we are representative of that fanbase on the pitch. So that means hard work, dedication, professionalism, a fantastic attitude and a real desire to win games. We want to win but we also want to be entertaining while we’re doing it. My teams have always played an attractive brand of football and it will be my endeavour to see that continue at Chennaiyin.”

Looking ahead, Coyle reiterated that exciting and entertaining times are in store for Chennaiyin fans. “Thank you (to the fans) first and foremost for being a fantastic part of the football club. I look forward to bringing to you a team that can try and win games and be exciting, making chances and scoring goals, and entertaining while trying to win,” he asserted.

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