First two matchweeks were a great advert for Hero ISL: Jamshedpur FC’s Aidy Boothroyd
Jamshedpur FC head coach Aidy Boothroyd feels the games that have seen the return of fans to the stadium in the first two matchweeks of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) are a great advert for the league and Indian football.
A total of 40 goals have been scored in the Hero ISL so far and the action has impressed Boothroyd whose team got a ten-day window to prepare for the game against Mumbai City FC in Mumbai on Saturday while also assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the other teams that were in action.
Jamshedpur FC who lost 2-3 against Odisha FC in the last match are keen to get their season up and running when they take on the Islanders who are unbeaten in their first two games of the season.
Head coach Boothroyd and forward Borish Singh Thangjam spoke to the media ahead of the match.
Here are the excerpts from Boothroyd’s press conference:
You had a ten-day gap after your last match. So how did you utilise those days after the setback in the first match to prepare for the match against a strong Mumbai City FC team?
Boothroyd: When you get a result as we did in the last match when you end up getting beat 3-2 in the last minute, it (the long gap) is the worst thing because you want to get up and play straight away. So in the ten-day layoff, we licked our wounds and then we used it purposefully. We did a couple of extra sessions that we may not have done before and worked on certain aspects. But we wanted to play and this is a great opportunity to play one of the best teams which a couple of years ago won the Hero ISL and League Winners' Shield double. So we want to get going and get into the rhythm of it.
You took over a team that won the League Winners' Shield last season but as you mentioned there have been quite a few changes to the team. So how do you approach the challenge of leading a team with new faces who people expect to challenge for trophies again?
Boothroyd: As a head coach when you come into a job, usually it's in disarray and usually near the bottom of the table. So joining a team that has won the championship comes with different expectations from the supporters, the media and the club. The dressing room took the new players in seamlessly. It's a very good group of players that works very hard. We will be a different team I don't know if better or worse because it was a pretty good job done last year and the club is very well run. So I am looking forward to having a very good and hopefully prosperous time.
How did you pick up the players after a demoralising defeat in the last match?
Boothroyd: It was very irritating to lose the game on unforced errors. But I think there were plenty of emotions surrounding the fixture with us being the champions last year. The club put a lot of hard work to get the stadium ready on time. The supporters waited outside. We had rain and puddles on the pitch but the supporters stayed there and supported us really well. I think there were a lot of emotions from our players too. We made a great start but I think sometimes you slap on the face to get you going again we were very disappointed coming in at the end of the game but we have used that to focus on the Mumbai City FC game.
What has been your assessment of the Hero ISL? A lot of away teams have found joy. Is it because the home teams are a bit too excited to play in front of home fans after a long time?
Boothroyd: I think supporters make a huge difference and I think it's a great advert for Hero ISL because the games have been free-flowing with plenty of goals being scored. We want to add to it ourselves. We know Mumbai City FC is a good team with a good head coach but these are the games that you want to play as your strong opponents bring the best out of you. I hope that happens on Saturday.
How do you rate Boris Singh Thangjam and what have you told him to do differently this season?
Boothroyd: I don't think I have told him to do things much differently. I think he was our best player in the pre-season. He and Ritwik have been fantastic for us. He has a bright future ahead of him. He has a heart of the size of a big pan. Sometimes he gets himself into situations where he gets injured because he is so keen to win. He has a lot of talent. He will create and score goals if he is urged to do that a bit more. Unlike a lot of wide players, he is ready to run back if there is a need so we are very lucky to have him.
How important will it be to stop Greg Stewart in Saturday's match?
Boothroyd: I think it will be really important. But I don't want to do a disservice to the rest of the team which is very good. They have quality and depth. We need to get our balance right with respect to the foreign and Indian players and this foreign-player rule is a new thing for me.
Here are the excerpts from Boris Singh Thangjam’s press conference:
In the last few years, Jamshedpur FC have nurtured a lot of youngsters who are now key players for the team. Can you talk about the culture at the club that helps these young players be comfortable and progress at the same time?
Boris: I am very lucky to have signed for Jamshedpur FC. The Tata Football Academy has produced players for many years. Jamshedpur FC loves to bring young players like Farukh Choudhary and me. I am happy to see many new youngsters improving and I hope to see more youngsters in the future.
You contributed to a few goals last season and have started the new season with a goal. Even if you are a winger, how important is scoring goals for you?
Boris: For any forward, it's very important to score and provide assists. We can't defend for the full ninety minutes and the forwards need to do their bit. It also gives me confidence when I score. If I score consistently, it will help the club pick up points.
Do you feel having Greg Stewart in Mumbai City FC motivates the team to win against them without him?
Boris: We know Greg Stewart very well and we know what he brings to the game with the ball. He is a very good player and we are prepared to face him. But it's a team game and our team is hungry to go for the game and win it.