Chennaiyin FC head coach Owen Coyle backed his side to build on their winning momentum as they face FC Goa in Matchweek 6 of the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai, on Sunday.

FC Goa have been in scintillating form so far this season with three wins and a draw from four matches played. They are one of the only three teams to have remained unbeaten in the league so far this season.

Owen Coyle acknowledged the strength of FC Goa but highlighted his own team's quality.

"FC Goa are a very good side, we respect them, but we know with the quality of players we have, we have very good quality," Owen Coyle stated in the pre-match press conference.

"We have the desire to be really focused and go and look to try to win another tough game in the ISL and so will FC Goa so I think it will be an exciting game tomorrow (Sunday)," he added.

Owen Coyle has reached the ISL playoffs twice with Chennaiyin FC and Jamshedpur FC. After a tough start to the season, where they lost their initial three games, Chennaiyin FC have registered back-to-back wins. He wants his team to continue their positive performances but also believes that consistent results in the long run will help them make the playoffs.

"It (reaching the playoffs) would be decided over 22 games rather than six games. Certainly we want to continue the run of form that we have been in. We know that if we perform in the level that we have performed in the last home game, then we are capable of winning matches," he said.

"We certainly believe that we can be in those playoffs at the end of the 22 games," he added.

Chennaiyin FC had a difficult start to the 2023-24 ISL season with three defeats from their first three games. They conceded eight times and scored just once in this period.

Their performances improved from the fourth match onwards when they won away to Hyderabad FC by a 1-0 scoreline. They scored five goals in their last game against Punjab FC and conceded just one goal. Performances have improved but Coyle has also set high standards for his team. Despite his team’s thumping away win against Punjab FC, Coyle was disappointed as his team could not hold on to a clean sheet after Chennaiyin FC conceded a late goal in the dying minutes against Punjab FC.

"In the last week we were annoyed that we conceded a late goal when we should not have but that is what can happen if you relax for a moment in this league," he said.

Coyle believes in continuity and wants his team to take positive momentum forward into their next games.

"The important thing is to continue the momentum, work to continue playing well and the better you (we) play, there are more chances to win matches," he said. "We want to capitalise on our home fixture and eventually win three games in a row," he added.

Chennaiyin FC have a lot of talented young Indian players in their squad, who have been providing energy and intensity to the team. The likes of Bikash Yumnam, Ayush Adhikari, Vincy Barreto and Jiteshwor Singh have been impressive under Coyle. Coyle believes that identifying and improving young players will contribute in improving his overall squad this season.

"If we want to improve, it is important that we identify young talent," he said. "Our model is looking to improve younger players. The foreign players also have a huge role to play both on and off the pitch in terms of developing young players," he added.

Coyle has been renowned for providing opportunities to all his players and making them play different positions from those that they are already accustomed to. He and his coaching team are looking to expand their player's capabilities and playing styles. Coyle wants his players to be comfortable playing in different positions.

"What we are doing is educating players. If we assign players fixed positions there will be no scope for their development. We look at players, we recognise the qualities they have and if they are capable of playing in different positions," he said.

Team performing well is most important: Rafael Crivellaro

Chennaiyin FC attacking midfielder Rafael Crivellaro accompanied Owen Coyle in the pre-match press conference. He has scored two goals and assisted twice in the league so far this season and has played a key role in helping Chennaiyin FC secure successive wins. The Brazilian highlighted that team performance always comes before individual performances.

"I think the team performing well is the most important thing. After that we can see the quality of the players.The most important thing is that we keep going and keep increasing our performance level," he said.

Crivellaro acknowledged that it was a tough start for him and the other players in the first three matches as they were new to each other and needed time to form connections.

"It was difficult in the first three matches because all the players were new and we were not connecting together. In the next matches you could see that the connections are better and we are improving," he said. "Now we need to improve more against FC Goa, try to keep going and show that we have quality to be at the top," he added.

Crivellaro feels that Owen Coyle is the right man to help Chennaiyin FC reach the top of the league again. He was also a part of Chennaiyin FC squad that reached the ISL 2019-20 final and played an instrumental role for the team that season.

"I think Chennaiyin FC has the right man (Coyle) to build the team. I am very glad to have the chance to work with him again," he said.