Chennaiyin FC head coach Owen Coyle stated that his team is focused on doing their best against Odisha FC in their first game in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023–24 season at the Kalinga Stadium in Odisha on Saturday. 

The two-time ISL Cup winners failed to reach the ISL playoffs for the last three consecutive seasons. The last time they reached the final was in the 2019–20 season under Coyle. So, the Marina Machans would like to qualify for the playoffs after performing well under their former head coach. 

“Yeah, it's been good. I think everyone's just kind of excited to get going now. It's been a few weeks; everyone's been working hard; everyone's ready to go, so hopefully we can start on Saturday and get a performance,” CFC’s Scottish striker Connor Shields said, speaking about their preparation. 

The head coach is hopeful that his team will perform well in spite of not being among the top-spending clubs. He also addressed that money did not guarantee success. 

“Our model in Chennai is different from others. We obviously invest where we can, but it's more in young players. And I've been known to give young players a chance and develop young Indian players, and that's what I'll continue to do. So, we've got a good mix, obviously, with Con and other foreign boys that have come in. Not only are they good footballers, but are also good people, and that's really important because our strength will be as a group; it won't be on individual players as good as they are; it'll be as a group,” Coyle said while speaking about his philosophy. 

Chennaiyin FC have scored a total of 13 goals in their opening games of the ISL, second most behind only FC Goa (15). Teams under Coyle have averaged 2.4 goals per game against Odisha FC (12 goals in five games). 

I've said before, the longer this season goes, the better we will be, because obviously I've just come in as well and inherited a group of players. Obviously, I've added certainly the players that I've signed, so I'm getting to know a lot of the players as well, and week by week, the better we'll become. But we're looking forward to this game. We certainly believe that we can perform to our best. It's a game they're capable of winning," Coyle stated ahead of the OFC clash. 

“We had a special time in Chennai before, we want to have a special time now. The only way we do that is by playing well and winning games, and that's what we set out to do. I've been very fortunate, very blessed, in my time in India, that I've achieved huge success. Obviously, what we did with Chennai from the bottom of the league and going to, and the truth be told, on another day, nine times out of ten, we'd have won that final,” Coyle said on his prior experience with Chennaiyin FC. 

New signing Connor Shields accompanied Coyle at the pre-match press conference and revealed that he is looking forward to the ISL experience.

“This is my first season. I'm just looking forward to the competition as a whole. But obviously, every game is a new challenge for me. Obviously, it's the first time being in the league. So yeah, I'll say tomorrow it's going to be a new experience for myself,” Chennaiyin FC’s new No. 10 Shields said in the pre-match press conference.