Antonio Iriondo: Have to nullify Mumbai’s wings

Jamshedpur FC will look to preserve their unbeaten run against Mumbai City FC in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) when they meet at the JRD Tata Sports Complex in Jamshedpur on Thursday. Jamshedpur are yet to lose at home this season but will have to be careful of a confident Mumbai side, who beat Bengaluru FC away in their last game.

Speaking at the pre-match press conference, head coach Antonio Iriondo gave his views about the game at hand, “We plan to win every match, that’s a given. For that, we have to do two things. First of all, we have to nullify the wings, which is the strong point of the opponent. We have to try and create situations from that. And secondly, we have to give our best on the pitch and win the match.”

The Spaniard went on to opine about his team conceding late goals over the last few matches, “In the match against Kerala Blasters, we were in a winning situation, and then we conceded the goal. I think against Mumbai, we cannot fall under any pressure. We have the responsibility to maintain our winning run. But what we have to take into account is that the opponent team has been losing as well. Sometimes this happens. We have taken note of the fact that in two matches we have given away the lead.”

“If you see, this is not only happening to us. It’s happening in almost every match. I’m not sure why. Maybe the teams feel pressurised in the last minutes or all the teams have been feeling the need to put extra pressure in the dying minutes,” he added.

Jamshedpur have many young attackers who are yet to prove their mettle. Talking about them, the 66-year-old said, “We have tried different strikers in the last few matches. Some start the match and some are on the bench, but all of them have played all the matches. Sometimes, we need to think about the team’s balance. Aniket (Jadhav) is a great player and he’s very young. He keeps growing and learning. He needs to be more consistent. With Sumeet Passi, he isn’t having luck scoring goals, but he is a very intelligent player. He understands perfectly what the team needs.”

Speaking about his teams’ injuries, Iriondo informed, “(Sergio) Castel is not ready yet. He needs some more rest. Hopefully, he will be back soon. He has scored a lot of goals for us and is an important member. Luckily, he does not need surgery and will be back with the squad soon.” He further continued, “The other injury concern is Amarjit Singh, but he is now training with the team. He had an important injury. He needs both physical and mental recovery. He has to recover his confidence and be strong enough to come back to full fitness.”

The Spaniard was joined by young defender Narender Gahlot, who has been performing quite well this season. When asked what went wrong in their last match and how he is preparing for the next, he said, “Maybe after scoring those two goals in the last game, we got a little overconfident. We lost our focus and started giving away the ball. The concentration got a little lost in the last match, maybe that is why we conceded. The coach says that every match is like a final. It is better to get a point if we are losing but to draw from a winning position makes it difficult. But we need to win the remaining matches.”

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