Chennaiyin FC head coach Owen Coyle credits the opposition's second-half performance as his team lost to the Islanders by a 3-0 scoreline in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Mumbai Football Arena in Mumbai on Thursday.

With today’s win, Mumbai City FC remain unbeaten against the Marina Machans in each of their last seven ISL games. Both winger forwards, Lallianzuala Chhangte and Vikram Partap Singh put their names on the scoresheet to give the hosts a sustainable lead, while Gurkirat Singh scored his first ISL goal in the 90th minute to secure the sixth victory of this season.

Coyle acknowledged that his players were promising in terms of creating chances in the opening first but were not precise in converting them into goals. He also believes that with the squad that Mumbai City FC have, they should fight for the ISL Shield every year.

“In the first half, we were very promising and had some great chances, but we did not score a goal against a very good team with many wonderful players,” Coyle stated in the post-match press conference.

“They've invested heavily in the squad and they should be fighting for the ISL Shield every year because of the investment they make. That's very clear. If you have the racehorse, it's a good chance to win the race. So, goals changed the game,” he added.

The Englishman had words of praise for his opponents and opined that the Islanders were a much better team since Chhangte scored the opening goal of the match with his curled left-footed strike. However, he urges his players to have a fresh start in January to make a strong comeback in the second leg of the league.

“Once Mumbai City FC got the goal in front, I don't think we could argue that they were the better team from that point in the second half. So, I've got to give credit to them. Now, we put ourselves up, we look to go again, we look to freshen things up in January, and we'll crack on from there,” he explained.

Coyle shares that all the teams that are placed in the top five spots are playing well. He is quite hopeful to lead Chennaiyin FC into the playoffs by making some changes in January, as he believes his team will be able to secure a spot in the next round.

“Obviously, the top five teams in the league are doing very well, and at the moment, we sit in sixth place,” he said.

“So, we have an opportunity to make the playoffs, and with no doubt, we’ll be better in the second half of the season because I look to change things up in January and get some of my type of players and some young players who can score. We have different models,” he continued.

Coyle prioritizes the importance of having quality players in the squad who help a team challenge for titles. Speaking in context, he commented:

“As I said, if you have the best racehorse, then sure enough, you're going to be fighting for that big prize, as Mumbai City FC and Mohun Bagan FC are doing by investing heavily. Also, Kerala Blasters FC are playing very well with a consistent model showing continuity and consistency over the last three and a half years.”

“Like most things, good things take time, as we showed to win the shield with Jamshedpur FC, who'd never been in the playoffs. We know what we're doing and how to do it. But good players help you to achieve things, as Mumbai showed in the second half tonight that good players help you to be champions,” he signed off.