Chennaiyin FC head coach Owen Coyle urges his players to deliver a strong performance ahead of the playoffs as they are preparing to take on FC Goa in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa on Sunday.

The Gaurs have emerged victorious in four of their last five ISL encounters against Chennaiyin FC. Coyle’s men have won each of their last three league games, which has played a pivotal role in their quest for a playoff spot.

Coyle is delighted to have qualified for the top six after three seasons, despite experiencing several ups and downs throughout the entire ISL 2023–24 season. However, the head coach is focused on their upcoming away fixture and is determined to maintain the positive momentum ahead of the knockout stages.

“Nevertheless, it’s a huge boost for the football club and the fans, but it’s the first step as far as I’m concerned. I do not get high for just reaching the playoffs," he added.

For Chennaiyin FC, Sarthak Golui, Aakash Sangwan, Vincy Barretto, Rafael Crivellaro, and Farukh Choudhary are one caution away from suspension, while side-back Ankit Mukherjee is set to miss the FC Goa match due to suspension.

Sharing insights on this, Coyle indicated that he might opt for some rotations to ensure his entire squad is available for the playoff fixture.

“I can certainly look at a number of things now. There are players who need some minutes to get ready for the next games. There are a few players on three yellow cards, and Ankit Mukherjee is already suspended, while there are also one or two with niggles,” he stated.

“As much as we like to win every game, we have to make sure we are ready for the playoffs. There will definitely be changes,” he further added.

Besides the sidelines, the Scottish head coach is always animated and enthusiastic during Chennaiyin FC’s games. Speaking on this matter, he stated, "I wear my heart on my sleeve. The players know I can be very emotional and demanding.”

“I was frustrated and disappointed with that result with everyone at the club because we were playing well prior to that. It was an important lesson because we learned that we cannot switch off," he continued.

Coyle also mentioned how his players capitalized on the recent international break to alter the squad’s dynamic after suffering a stunning defeat against all-Indian Hyderabad FC, ultimately turning the tide in their favour.

Notably, the Marina Machans have been unbeaten in their last three ISL games against Mohun Bagan SG, Jamshedpur FC, and NorthEast United FC since March.

“During the international break, I liked the training sessions, and we focused on little details that we have executed well,” he commented.

“Since the January transfer window, the training sessions have also progressively improved due to a settled group and fewer player changes. At our very best, we have shown we can stand toe-to-toe with the top teams, but we have also been consistent recently," he signed off.

Coach has given me a lot of confidence: Bikash Yumnam


Bikash Yumnam accompanied his head coach to the press conference ahead of their final league stage match against FC Goa. The Manipur-born defender, who joined the Marina Machans during the 2022–23 season, has been experiencing regular playing time this season under Coyle.

Overall, in his 18 appearances so far in the ISL 2023–24 season, Yumnam has won 43 duels, made 14 interceptions, completed 39 clearances, and provided 273 successful passes for Chennaiyin FC. After serving his one-match suspension against NorthEast United FC, the defender is set to return against the Gaurs.

The 20-year-old acknowledged how his coach and senior players in their squad guided him to improve his game.

“The coach has given me a lot of confidence, which is quite encouraging for me as a young player,” he said.

“I also have the opportunity to learn a lot from both Ryan (Edwards) and Lazar (Cirkovic) on and off the pitch. They have always supported me, and we communicate a lot, which has improved my game," Yumnam concluded.