Coyle: Important that we make our home matches count

Two-time Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) champions, Chennaiyin FC will be aiming to win just their second match of the season when they welcome rivals, Kerala Blasters FC to the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Friday. The fixture is an important one for the club as a win could see them close the gap to the top four and keep their hopes of qualifying for the playoffs alive.

Additionally, the match will also mark the home debut for new Chennaiyin head coach, Owen Coyle. Speaking at his pre-match press conference, the 53-year-old said, “The first home game for myself is very exciting against a very good side in Kerala Blasters. In terms of preparation, the players have worked very hard.”

“Their attitude in training, quality, their understanding of what we are asking them is there for all to see. We have quality within the team and we have to show that. Kerala Blasters I think are a very good side with good players. We are very respectful of them, but we do not fear anyone. We give respect but we are ready. If we play to our best, we can win the game,” he added.

Looking back at his first match in-charge of the club away to Jamshedpur, Coyle opined, “Anyone that watched the game against Jamshedpur would have recognised that we should have left with three points. The players were terrific, the attitude, the effort and the quality. Prior to that we had lost seven games on the road and scored one goal. The positives were there for everyone to see.”

“What we have to do now because of the position we start in, is to play catchup, so we have to perform like that consistently. I’ve seen enough quality in the squad, enough attitude and enough appetite to do well for the football club. We still truly believe we can win games and play a style of football that everyone enjoys playing in.”

The former Burnley manager also emphasised the importance of making the most of their home games from now until the end of the season, Coyle said, “It’s always important that you look to win your home games, because that’s where the majority of your fans see your team playing. And we want that connection with our supporters. We have a fantastic fanbase. They come and they support the team. It creates a fantastic atmosphere for football. Our obligation is on the field to deliver the product.”

Finally, Coyle spoke of injury concerns for his side ahead of the Blasters clash. “We do have one or two injuries ahead of the match. Most of the group trained, we gave one or two a precaution. In an ideal situation, you want your full squad available. What I would say is that if somebody misses out, it gives another player an opportunity to come in. So, if one or two miss out, we have players ready to play.”

Top-scorer Nerijus Valskis also attended the media gathering along with Coyle, and the Lithuanian said, “I am always happy when I score, and the team is also doing good. It’s good that we didn’t lose (against Jamshedpur) and this gives everybody confidence, and for sure, we will try and win the next game. I hope we win against Kerala. We will come in very serious and focused.”

Read the Match Preview here.

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