Jamshedpur FC head coach Owen Coyle wants his team to build themselves for the long road ahead and be at their best to take home the points and seal the top-four spot, as the Men of Steel take the field against NorthEast United FC in Match 101 of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 season at the PJN Stadium in Margao, Goa on Friday evening.

Coyle addressed his NorthEast United FC counterpart Khalid Jamil and stated that their series of player injuries and lack of player continuity inhibited their ambitions of a successful season. Subsequently, while laying emphasis on the Indian players in the league, the 55-year-old spoke highly of their quality at disposal not only at Jamshedpur FC but within the league, terming it as a great prospect for the future of Indian football.

The Jamshedpur FC head coach addressed the media during the official pre-match press conference.

Here are the excerpts from the coach’s press conference:

What will the team’s approach be in the upcoming game against NorthEast United FC?

We have to approach each game like we always do and focus on one game at a time. We’ve a lot of work to do, we’ve done really well until this point but that accounts for nothing. What we have to do now in the remaining games, starting from a very tough game against a very good opponent in NorthEast, is to try and win the game and collect those valuable points which will be our aim on a game-to-game basis.

So, we’re only thinking about NorthEast at the moment. We have injury concerns at the moment, but we will look to put a team as fresh as possible to try and win another tough game in the ISL.     

What is a surprising element that NorthEast United FC bring in their fixtures?

NorthEast are a very good team and I think they are being held back by major injuries and players missing from their squad this season. Khalid Jamil has not been able to have the player continuity but when you look back at their full strength, they have the quality, as we saw against Bengaluru the other night. Deshorn (Brown) scored a wonderful header and then they went on to win the game.

So, we know they are dangerous opponents, and they have an incredibly good coach in Khalid Jamil. So, we will be very respectful of our opponents, but we also know that when we are at our absolute best then we can win these tough games and that’s what we have to do.

What is your take on the club’s qualifying chances being a big motivating factor against direct rivals in the upcoming games?

It’s always nice to hear when people say that we have attained the most wins, scored so many goals, picked up so many points, but the truth is it doesn’t count for anything unless you get something tangible and that is the mission for Jamshedpur FC as a club, who’s never been in those semi-final positions to fight out for the trophy.

So, we want to try and take away enough points to do that. And the only way to do that is by playing well and winning games as every game is a tough one even though people say that NorthEast aren’t our direct opponents. Every game is so tough in the ISL and that’s why we have to be focused. We have hard work ahead of us, we have to go and pick up those points to seal our place in the top four and from there, we will push forward higher up the league, but we have to get the points first.

What led the Indian players to be more involved in the last 30 minutes of the games lately?

I think it’s been a process and we worked hard every day as everybody on the training ground puts in their work. It’s not about clicking your fingers or sprinkling fairy dust, it’s about hard work, repetition, and understanding your role and responsibilities in the team.

The players are doing well and that gives me tremendous satisfaction and joy when I see the young Indian players. You expect the foreign players to be good players but when you see the young Indian players develop, you take great joy from that because they really have the capacity to improve and honestly, they possess good physical conditions.

They always seem to have a desire, hunger, and I helped them a little with their game awareness, management, and football IQ along with a change in their technique here and there. Of course, we have very good players and that is the same with other respective clubs with Jamshedpur being one of them.

But for the national team as well and Igor Stimac as well whom I speak to quite often. So, that is positive for everybody when I look through all the teams, I see some really nice Indian players get better and improve under the guidance of very good coaches and that is great for everyone in the league