I’m convinced we’ll bounce back from recent defeats: Chennaiyin FC’s Bozidar Bandovic

Chennaiyin FC head coach Bozidar Bandovic was defiant in his team’s defence despite successive defeats in their last two Hero Indian Super League matches ahead of their clash against Jamshedpur FC on Sunday.

The duel will have added spice after Chennaiyin FC signed Nerijus Valskis from Jamshedpur FC on Saturday even though the Lithuanian will miss the match due to quarantine requirements.

 Bandovic felt his team must be mentally strong during this period and continue to build on the positives in their performances recently.

Bandovic spoke to the media before the match and here are the excerpts from his press conference:

Chennaiyin FC have added Nerijus Valskis to the team. What do you think are the attributes that he will bring to the team?

I have known Valskis for many years and of course at this moment, we were looking for a foreigner because in the first half of the season we played with five foreigners. So we were looking for someone who gets us goals. He is a good player, a good character, he knows the team. He was the best option that we could have gone with. He comes with a one-day quarantine so from January 8 he will be ready and he will train with us from tomorrow. He needs help from his teammates to adapt in the team very quickly. But he knows the league and it's a very good option for us.

Has the time come to replace Vishal Kaith in goal? He has been making mistakes in every match.

I think you need to wait for Sunday. Of course he made some mistakes but we will decide later. As I said, mistakes will happen but you need to learn from the mistakes. As you see it's happening with many teams. These things need time and it can't happen in days. I am thinking about the issue and we will see. As a coach I don't change goalkeepers. I always support the players but I also need to think about what is the best for the team. If playing Debjit Majumder is best for the team, I will do it as no one is above the team. Everyone is trying their best including Vishal. Everyone was pointing fingers at him when we lost the match but there were other mistakes too.

You play against Jamshedpur FC next which is a very physical team. Since you play after just three days, how difficult will it be for your team to maintain their levels physically?

Like every team, we have done our preparation. At this moment it's difficult to play every 3-4 days. But our team is quite capable of this. We will recover and they are a strong team playing direct football, with high pressing and using the second balls. They are very good at set-pieces and some players you need to take care of individually. We will be ready for tomorrow even though we have some problems. We will have to play with four foreigners but we will be ready.

How differently are you going to approach the match after the defeat against Bengaluru FC?

The players have to recover and they will. The way we played for most parts against Bengaluru FC, we should have won that. We don't lose a game, we learn and we lose as a team. This is very important as there will be difficulties in whatever you try to achieve and you need to keep going, keep believing and keep giving everything every game. We are in every game and trying to be stable and the way we played in the last few matches is something I like. We are creating chances, we are creating beautiful combinations to score the goals. We are not scoring them and we need to concentrate individually and as a tam. From what I'm seeing with other teams, I can see that all players need some time to recover from a mistake. But we need to be mentally strong and develop a winning mentality.

What's your take on jamshedpur FC and how much of a threat is Greg Stewart?

They are a good team. They know what they are doing. Individually they have strong players who can hurt us on set-pieces. We need to win second balls as it gives us a better chance of winning the match against this opponent. They have a coach who has been here for a few years and knows the league. He was also with Jamshedpur FC last season and it makes them a stronger team with quality individuals.

After back-to-back defeats you need to back your players as a coach. What is your message to them?

I spoke with the players and I told them I support them in everything. You can't give up as you lost 1-2 games. You need to keep going, giving everything all the time is the only way and all other ways are wrong.

We have good communication and I'm sure they will bounce back 1000%.

How do you plan to rectify the defensive mistakes from the last match against a Jamshedpur FC side that have top attacking players?

The defensive problems are not just about the last line. We have to defend as a team and be wary of their counter-attack. We need to pressurise the ball in the middle of the pitch and not give them space.

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