Chennaiyin FC head coach Owen Coyle called upon his players to exhibit clinical finishing in front of goal as they aim to secure their first points of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023–24 season. Their challenge comes against table-toppers Mohun Bagan Super Giant at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Saturday.

Despite two consecutive losses at the start of the season, Coyle remains optimistic, highlighting his team's creation of numerous scoring opportunities against Odisha FC and NorthEast United FC. Coyle, who enjoyed a successful stint with the Marina Machans three years ago, aspires to recapture those glory days for the club in the near future.

Coyle acknowledged the need for clinical finishing, stating, “Yeah, I think there's no doubt. I mean, you've watched both games. We've had some fantastic chances. I think, to your point, it's like most teams, you have to be clinical. Had we taken our chances, we very easily could have won both games. So, I think always at the start of a season, everybody wants to get up and running, so it's certainly not obviously the start that everybody would hope for. But what you've got to understand is that this is a long-term project. This is not coming with a magic wand and sprinkling fairy dust,” Coyle said in the pre-match press conference.

“We know there is a big, big job ahead of us. Ideally, I'd love to pick up points in the first two games, but that's not the big picture. What's got to be over 22 games, and I've got no doubts we'll be in those playoff positions. So, it is a big job ahead of us. We continue each day to work very hard,” he added.

Coyle explained his long-term plans with Chennaiyin FC. He also expressed his willingness to work more with young Indian talents and make them ready for the national team. The Englishman has vast experience coaching various teams in Scotland, England, and India. From his prior coaching experience, Coyle says he does not like to get fascinated with the results, but he wants to focus more on analyzing the points of improvement.

Coyle elaborated on his long-term plans for Chennaiyin FC, emphasising his commitment to developing young Indian talents and preparing them for national team duties. With vast coaching experience in Scotland, England, and India, Coyle stated that he values a results-oriented approach, with a focus on continuous improvement.

Explaining his vision, Coyle said: “When I win, which I do very, very often, as we know, I never, ever get too high. So, when I lose, I don't get too low. I look, I analyse. Where can we be better? Where can we improve? And that's what we look to do on a daily basis. So, there's no dejection, there's no negativity, everything we do is positive, knowing over the course of the season and the seasons to come, we're going to build something really special at Chennai, as I've proven at Chennaiyin FC before, as I've proven at Jamshedpur FC, all over the world, where I've been, Scotland, England, India, we've been champions. And that's what we'll look to do; to build again.”

Mohun Bagan Super Giant won both of their opening games and have bagged maximum points. While acknowledging the strength of the Mohun Bagan Super Giant squad, Coyle expressed his team's eagerness to deliver a better performance in front of their home fans.

Ahead of their first home game of the season, the Chennaiyin FC head coach said: “These boys are really looking forward to the game and, again, being back at home for our fans, because the fans are so important and they're the ones that we want to put a smile on their faces. So, to do that, we're going to have to play very well. But as I say, it's a game that we're really looking forward to.”

Accompanying Coyle in the pre-match press conference were forward Rahim Ali and English defender Ryan Edwards, who shared their perspectives ahead of the upcoming league match. Kolkata-born Rahim Ali will face a team from his hometown and the forward expressed his motivation to excel against the Mariners.

“Yes, it is motivation for me, for my team, and yes, they have a good side, so we are prepared very well. We work so hard for that, and yes, of course we are ready for the match, and we know what to do for tomorrow's (Saturday's) match, and yes, we are focused on that, and we have to be mentally very strong for that,” Ali said.

Ryan Edwards, who recently joined Chennaiyin FC, discussed his role as a mentor to the team's young talents, emphasising the importance of balance and leadership within the squad.

“It's a group full of good young players as well as experience as well. So, the balance is there. And from what I've done, the player I have been, and the person I have been through my career with my experience, now I must help the younger lads. It's a key role in not only my position but also in me as a person. And I think there's plenty of talent in the group now. We just need the leaders in the group to demand and get that expectation amongst ourselves. So, we compete to be where we want to be,” he explained.