Always there for my team whenever they need me: Chennaiyin FC captain Anirudh Thapa

Chennaiyin FC skipper Anirudh Thapa is the first in line to assist his teammates, be it on the pitch or off the pitch. The 24-year-old is one of the oldest-serving Chennaiyin FC players, donning the Marina Machans’ jersey since the 2016 season.

He was given the captain’s armband prior to the start of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 season which received a humongous applause amongst the Chennaiyin FC fans. While they started off the season on a thunderous note, the Bozidar Bandovic-led side have been struggling in their goal-scoring ability and are yet to cement their place in the league table, as they sit sixth-placed, collecting fifteen points, five points adrift league leaders and arch-rivals Kerala Blasters FC.

The midfielder has started all the games for his side, playing all 990 minutes so far, with two goal contributions in the offing. Defensively, Thapa has made 45 tackles, 23 interceptions, 22 blocks, and 12 clearances.

Anirudh Thapa spoke about the evolution of set-pieces in the modern game, his experience of being a captain and leading the team and much more in a press conference.

Here are the excerpts from Thapa’s chat:

How important are set-pieces in the modern game?

I think we need to score more goals especially in set-pieces because sometimes we don’t play well, sometimes we play well and are not able to score but set-pieces are one of the most important part of the game where we have the opportunity to score if we’re strong. We can score and take advantage in these situations. So, yes, I think set-pieces are one of the most important part of football.

What is your role as a captain when the team goes through an indifferent form?

You know, everyone is important, not just me. I think all eleven players on the pitch need to perform well. For me, I need to push the team, I need to motivate them to play, I need to make sure that when we’re having a difficult day or a bad game, I’m the first one to give them confidence that we can play well. If anyone is not playing well or if anyone is down, I’m the one who needs to keep and push them up because at the end it’s a team game and we all need to perform well.

What are your thoughts on the change in formation and the role of Lallianzuala Chhangte along with Nerijus Valskis’ homecoming?

Whatever is happening is for the betterment of the team because the coach knows he has a style and we’re working on it. Whatever happens we will always give our best and the results will come.

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