Coyle: Intentional or not, Jamshedpur’s goal was from a hand ball
New Chennaiyin FC head coach Owen Coyle began his life in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) with a 1-1 draw against Jamshedpur FC at the JRD Tata Sports Complex on Monday. Nerijus Valskis struck his fourth goal in three matches to put the visitors in front in the 26th minute but Jamshedpur clawed their way back into the contest with an 89th-minute equaliser.
At the post-match press conference, Coyle shared his overall thoughts on his first Hero ISL outing and said, “I really enjoyed the match. The venue and the fans were a fantastic advertisement for the Hero ISL. However, I am disappointed sitting here without the three points. I think we played a fantastic game and put enough in it. We scored a fantastic goal, controlled the first half and had two or three great opportunities to extend our lead. Maybe the final pass was missing. We obviously have things to work on but could have gone out of sight earlier”
Jamshedpur’s equaliser had an element of controversy attached to it as Isaac Vanmalsawma’s shot seemed to have struck Farukh Choudhary’s arm before nesting into the net. Asked about the incident, Coyle opined, “I think we handled the pressure well. Jamshedpur are a good side. The disappointment was that the points were taken off our hands. I think it was a clear hand ball. You can argue whether it was intentional or not, but regardless it was still a free kick. It was cruel on us. We did put a lot in the game. I don’t want that getting lost in the controversy of the goal. I am pleased at the way we approached the match and if we keep playing like this, we will win more than we draw.”
Despite being very attacking in the first 45 minutes, Chennaiyin looked a bit defensive in the second half. Once the trend was pointed out, Coyle admitted, “We looked the better side in the first half. The home side was under pressure in the second half to try and find the equaliser and I think we subconsciously sat back and tried to hit on the counter. But to be fair, when we tried to counter attack, we could have scored three or four in the second period.”
Tonight’s result kept Chennaiyin second from bottom in the table with six points from seven matches. Enquired if he still thought that breaking into the top four was a possibility, the 53-year-old stated, “We have enough time to do it, to win matches and try to get ourselves up there. Will it be difficult? Of course. We are a club at the bottom half of the table. But I have seen good signs tonight and have the belief.”
“There’s a lot of work to do. But top four is achievable. But to do that, we have to make sure when we get in positions, like we did today, we finish. That could have averted the pressure on our goal. We have to understand how to manage and win games. That needs a lot of thought and football intelligence. But I have a group who are willing to listen and that’s what I need to do,” he later added.
Coyle also had some high praise in store for his Indian contingent. “In the league, I know the foreign players get a lot of attention but our Indian players were terrific today. I was really pleased. I think when you come to a new country you have to help the local talent because if they do well domestically, that helps the national team. I was really pleased with the commitment levels today,” he noted.
Read the Match Report here.