It’s a challenge to pick four foreigners for the starting XI: Jamshedpur FC’s head coach Owen Coyle

Jamshedpur FC head coach Owen Coyle revealed how the four foreigner rule has put the head coaches in a fix while fielding the starting XI, ahead of their match against heavyweights Mumbai City FC in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 match at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, on Thursday evening.

The Red Miners are unbeaten in the four matches they played this season, having won two and shared spoils in as many matches. Meanwhile, the Islanders have won three of their four matches and lost one of them.

Coyle addressed the media in the pre-match press conference ahead of Thursday’s game.

Here are the excerpts from the press conference:

From beating one of the favourites in the Hero ISL - ATK Mohun Bagan, to playing the defending champions Mumbai City FC within a span of two days, how do you plan to prepare for the situation?

Yeah, it's a difficult challenge because obviously the recovery time is minimal and obviously we found out prior to the ATK Mohun Bagan game, that they had more recovery than us. And obviously it's the same with Mumbai, who again, are a fantastic side, so we needed more days of recovery time.

That being said, we'll refresh. Obviously, we'll get one or two injury concerns coming out of a tough game, as we did. So, we’ll have to look at that and get some freshness into the team and be ready for a really tough game against a good side. But it's a game that we're looking forward to.

Jamshedpur FC have played four games with three different centre back combinations. Has this been done to manage the workload or have been strategic moves depending on the opponent?

Well, obviously the challenge we have as head coaches this year, as you know, from the group of foreigners, we can only start with four. I have to be fair to all the players as well, they are all fantastic players. The six of them could play in any team. So of course, you have to look at the opposition and need to be much stronger in different areas, and that's how we'll look at that. But we look to make sure that all are fresh. It wasn't easy to leave out Alex Lima last game, although a bit of rest was needed because he had played all the matches.

It is observed by many that there is a lot of hunger in the Jamshedpur FC side compared to last season? What is the secret to this and how has it contributed to the team’s success?

I don't know. In terms of people's perceptions, I don't think there's a big change in hunger. You've seen, the players were terrific last year from what we did from what we had before. Remember, last year, there was an awful lot of improvement and we came very close to getting through to the play-offs, which everybody knows. So I think obviously when you are winning games, you know, then people have perception and different ideas.

Seiminlen Doungel scored in the last match, Jitendra Singh and TP Rehenesh performed well as well. How impressed are you with them and the other Indian players?

It’s always nice when you see particularly young players stepping up and proving, like Jitendra (Singh), Boris (Singh) and Komal (Thatal). Len (Seiminmlen) and TP (Rehenesh) have also done very well in the league and so has Pronay (Halder). So it's nice when the players get to the level we know they're capable. You mentioned Ricky (Lallawmawma) doing well and the Laldinliana (Renthlei), whom I know and brought to the club.

But we have other players who are waiting for the chance. Narender has come in and did well. So, we just have to make sure that we are focused. And, we keep ourselves physically and mentally in a good place and keep giving our best every game to try and win tough matches.

Just like Jamshedpud FC, Mumbai City FC also have a phenomenal attacking line up without Igor Angulo, Gabriel Cassio and also speedy wingers like Vikram Partap Singh and Bipin Singh, how is your team going to deal with that?

As we always do, with the utmost respect. As we did with ATK Mohun Bagan, who have (Hugo) Boumous and (Roy) Krishna, I mean, that was a good combination and those terrific players, (Joni) Kauko as well. So you're right. Mumbai City FC have wonderful talents. You mentioned their hunger, (Ahmed) Jahouh pulls the strings passing the ball, they have wonderful players, so they will get as much respect as they always do. But equally, they know that we've got good players in Jamshedpur FC, so we will focus on what we can bring to the game and look to be our very best.

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