Coyle: Goa’s first three goals were like Christmas gifts from us

Chennaiyin FC's spirited second-half display eventually fell short as they went down 4-3 against FC Goa in Match 46 of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Thursday. It was new Chennaiyin head coach Owen Coyle's first taste of defeat in the Hero ISL after taking charge of the team three matches back. The home team conceded three goals in the first half, mostly owing to defensive lapses, but put on a strong showing in the second 45 minutes.

Speaking about the contest at the post-match press conference, Coyle stated, “We gifted the first three goals. These were brought about by individual mistakes. Goa are a fantastic team. They have brilliant attacking players and one thing we can’t afford to give them are gifts. We gave them Christmas gifts today. The first three goals were all gifts.”

“Goa are the best team in the league at the moment but today we went toe-to-toe with them. We could have also gotten two penalties in the first half. However, what we showed in the second half, the football we played, the quality of football against a very good side, was commendable. In the second half, we were better than Goa but you can’t give teams like that a three-goal lead. We have to cut out individual errors. There was a lot of quality in the way the players played, so there is a lot of encouragement in that aspect,” he added.

The Scotland-born Irishman then went on to laud the spirit shown by his players and said, “Some of the boys made mistakes tonight, but they certainly had hearts full of fight. They kept going. We have to keep encouraging them and they will get better. It certainly leaves a bad taste in your mouth when you put so much into a game but get nothing out of it. We will pick ourselves up and keep going.”

Chennaiyin were without first-choice centre back Eli Sabia on the night, who missed the match due to a suspension. Asked how big a miss the Brazilian was for the side, Coyle noted, “Eli Sabia is an absolute star. He is one of the best defenders in the league and was a big miss tonight. He brings calmness and leadership quality in the backline. That being said, I still don’t think we deserved to lose the game.”

The loss leaves Chennaiyin eighth in the points table with nine points from as many matches and will certainly make a challenge for the top four a lot tougher. Pressed for his opinion on Chennaiyin’s top four credentials as things stand, he opined, “We will analyze the game. We have to learn from the mistakes. We have to eradicate these unforced errors quickly because if we continue making these mistakes, we will keep losing goals. But what we have shown is that we are an entertaining side which can score goals. We have gifted players. We know we can win games. We have to pick up points and try to surge up the table. We are not a million miles away but we are playing catch up.”

Read the Match Report here.

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