Grateful for the fans’ support during this rough period: Jamshedpur FC’s Aidy Boothroyd

Jamshedpur FC head coach Aidy Boothroyd acknowledged and thanked the fans, his staff and the board for the support they have shown them during this rough period for the club that has seen them win just one of their first six matches of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) season. 

The Red Miners are looking to avoid a fourth straight defeat in the league when they take on East Bengal FC in Jamshedpur on Sunday and the Englishman has urged his team to cut down on the unforced errors and slowly get back to playing their best football.

Boothroyd also lamented the injuries that his team has had to suffer which has set their campaign back so far but has expressed confidence in the team being able to overcome the adversities. 

The Englishman and striker Ishan Pandita addressed the media in the pre-match press conference ahead of the East Bengal FC match. 

Here are the excerpts from Boothroyd's press conference: 

Will you make changes in the team in terms of formation to turn around the fortunes of the team?

Boothroyd: It would be wonderful to be able to look at our squad and say that that's the way we are going to play but when we have had so many injuries that I've had to be flexible and pick a team that suits the players. So, it's not about trying to find a magic way of playing. It's about getting everybody fit so that we are strong and not only start the games well but also finish games well. 

What can you improve about Jamshedpur FC's performance to make it better?

Boothroyd: I am not happy. I think we have been in situations where we have played well but not gotten the results. I think we have had a little bit of adversity in terms of injuries and bad luck a few times. But so far this season we have had six games and four of them have been against the top teams. So, we have been close but not as close as we want to be. Every club goes through injuries but you have to come out of it and be in the fight to be successful. We are well aware of that. So it's really about doing rather than talking a lot. We need to prove it on the pitch. The one thing that we can improve on for sure is our unforced errors. We have been shooting ourselves in the foot on a regular basis. 

What are your thoughts on East Bengal FC because even they have had a slow start to the season? 

Boothroyd: I am expecting a very organised team, a very counter-attacking team and I am expecting a team that will fight and scrap for everything that they will get. It will be a very difficult game for us. It's against a team that we must find ways to overcome their strengths and exploit their weaknesses. It will be a tough game but our players are coming back and hitting form, so we just got to make sure that we play as well as we can. We have to put all our good bits, the good start against Odisha FC, the goals we have scored on set-pieces and on counter-attacks and add a bit of nous and match management, so we don't get ourselves into games and then give it away.  

What is your take on the crowd support for you?

Boothroyd: It is amazing. I have had people who have been very supportive. Everyone wants the team to do well and I mean everyone. I haven't had one negative comment. It's all been positive, purposeful and kind. I think the support has been brilliant which makes it even more frustrating that we don't win games here or away. 

I think there is a level of expectation after we were in the bio-bubble last two seasons. The last campaign was an amazing achievement and the only thing that was wrong about it was that it wasn't in front of home supporters. But we must create our own atmosphere, our feel-good factor. We need to thank the supporters for their support as it's been a difficult period. Sometimes thunderbolts come along and you have to ride them out. You have got to take the punches and come back from them and things turn. I am grateful for everyone's support whether it is the fans, the players, the staff and the board. Everyone at TATA has been supportive. As a head coach, it can be lonely when you don't win games. 

Do you think it's a good time to give young players a chance, especially play Ishan Pandita from the start?

Boothroyd: We have got a lot of good young players coming through. I think Ishan is not a baby but also not a veteran. We saw the other day what a good finish it was from him. 

As a team, we don't want to be too young or too old as a team. It's important to have that balance. 

Here are the excerpts from Ishan Pandita's press conference: 

You scored in the last match and East Bengal FC conceded four goals. Is it an added advantage? 

Pandita: We respect every team whatever they have to offer. We are playing at home but it doesn't change the fact that East Bengal FC is a good team. We have looked into their system and the way they work and hopefully, we get the three points that we deserve on Sunday. 

The FIFA World Cup is on. Which players do you look at for inspiration?

Pandita: I am a striker, so I look at strikers. Growing up I used to follow Luis Suarez. Also Karim Benzeme and Fernando Torres. Then I obviously watch Cristiano Ronaldo a lot who is top on and off the pitch. So I just try and learn from all these players.

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