I had some ideas and we could implement them: Chennaiyin FC head coach Brdaric

Chennaiyin FC head coach Thomas Brdaric was happy with the way his side bounced back from a defeat in their previous game as the Marina Machans recorded a 3-1 win against Jamshedpur FC in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL), at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Chennai, on Saturday.

Petar Sliskovic saw his opening goal cancelled out by Ishan Pandita but substitutes Vincy Baretto and Abdenasser El Khayati were on target late in the game as Chennaiyin FC grabbed their first home win of the season. With their third win of the season, the two-time Hero ISL champions now sit on the sixth spot in the standings.

Brdaric, who featured in the post-match press conference, expressed his joy over his team’s improved performance after a crushing defeat against Mumbai City FC last week. The Chennaiyin FC head coach was pleased with the effectiveness of their strategy apart from the substitutes who changed the game.

Here are the excerpts:

Finally a win in front of the fans. What are your thoughts?

I mean that’s why we are working - for this moment, every day for the fans, the club, the owners, and especially for the team. We have to be more focused, more organised, and reduce mistakes, and then we can be totally happy.

Last week you were leading by two goals and things went differently, but today it was the complete opposite. They scored their first goal and then you scored immediately. Do you think something has changed in the players or was it simply the circumstances of the match that went differently?

I observed the games are very close. If you saw the match on Friday (between East Bengal FC and Odisha FC), everything can happen when you are not proper in offense and defense, and the opponents can penetrate directly. We did not make a lot of mistakes at the back and they punished us directly with one chance and we reacted very fast. We changed some things at the right moment and I’m glad they worked. 

In the pre-match conference, you talked about some new tactics based on adding substitutes, and today, it worked. Are you pleased with how the substitutes changed the game?

I can plan things in my mind, but I need players who are able to execute them and in the starting eleven. We have a lot of players who want to start the game. We discussed while the match was going and till the second half things were working. I tried to tell my players, the players on the bench as well, that we need a game-changer. If they are on the pitch, they need to be ready, they have power and they must be mentally and physically prepared to make this effort. I'm happy with the changes and the players. They made an impact immediately into the game and this is an unbelievable feeling.

You made a lot of changes in the starting lineup. What do you think about the performance of the players who were handed the start?

To deal with so many players, it's tough. We have a big squad and we try to involve everybody in the new CFC family and not everybody will get the opportunity to play from the beginning. We have played six matches and every single game is important, but the road is decisive. The supporters are also important and not only the starting 11. This is a way to approach how we are working, and the club gives us this opportunity to build a new team and not for the short-term, but also for the long-term. That is why it's very important to have a healthy atmosphere in the team and you need everybody. Last week, we lost with many mistakes. I lost, not the team. I had some ideas and we could implement them. Today, we all won together.

What was your message to the players after the game?

This is the approach that we want. To celebrate this defense after the match because nothing is better, to celebrate after the match with three points, with great defence and I told them that since the first minute I saw a team that was good, organised, with a good plan. Of course, you can't play without mistakes. Big teams also make mistakes and allow the players to make mistakes but they should learn from them. Last week, we made tremendous mistakes and the opponent punished us really in a bad moment every time, so we have to be effective.

Today was much better, the organization looks much better. We could replace somebody, a good understanding was there. It doesn’t mean that players like (Anirudh) Thapa, (Rahim) Ali, Jiteshwor (Singh), and Sajal (Bag) are not important. Of course, they are also important, they must understand, be honest with themselves, and understand if they have some issues they have to tell the truth. And then we have to replace some players with fully healthy players. And that's why we suffered a little bit in the last match. These kinds of players like Thapa (Anirudh) will bounce back in a pretty good way and it will help us in the future. So that's why we need all players. Narayan (Das), I forgot Narayan, he is a very important player as well, so I hope they can come back soon.

Today you created a lot of chances and didn't take a lot of them. So are you happy that the team is creating that many chances despite missing a few of them?

In the stats, it's written that we are creating the most chances along with ATK Mohun Bagan and Mumbai City FC. It's our approach and as a coach, I like to play on offense. Sometimes it’s a little bit risky, but it's important to find spaces like today. We have to use some new tactics and different strategies in order to surprise the opponent. We want to create, we want to score. For me as a coach, that's my idea to score and of course, defend as well.

In the last match Petar Sliskovic missed a few chances but today he scored the goal. So how do you feel when a player finds his rhythm and gets going?

Speechless! A close connection is there. For me, after these kinds of matches, you start flying so we have to be humble. For Petar (Sliskovic), sometimes he does everything, he tries to distribute and create chances but sometimes you just need to score the goal to tell the players the truth, you need to understand as well. Petar (Sliskovic) as a person is perfect, as a player, he can score anytime and he can be effective. He uses his ability to help the team.

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