Materazzi insists Chennai will not be cowed down in Kochi

Marco Materazzi

Chennaiyin FC head coach Marco Materazzi insisted ahead of his side’s 12th round Hero Indian Super League (ISL) clash against Kerala Blasters FC in Kochi on Sunday that despite going down 3-0 away to NorthEast United FC in their earlier outing, they are still very much capable of winning their next game and also making the knockout stage. 

The Italian gaffer refuted a suggestion that the morale of the team is down as a result of that defeat and claimed that although he has a spate of injuries to deal with, he has the attacking players who are capable of changing games and scoring goals too.  

“The morale of the team is the same as always, we are at the top of the table and we have 19 points at the moment and we have three games to go. We definitely have a chance to go into the next round. We don’t have any new injuries but even if you take Elano and Stiven Mendoza out of the game, it doesn’t matter because we have players that can play and fill in the positions that we need them to,” Materazzi said at the pre-match press conference. 

The 2006 World Cup winner also stated that although other teams have come to Kochi and found it difficult to play and have usually defended deep, his team will in no way be intimidated by the huge support base of the Blasters and will continue to play their own brand of football. 

“The crowd in Kerala is very good, they (Kerala Blasters) never lose (at home), but every game is different. Tomorrow is going to be difficult, but we are a good team too and I believe that the result of tomorrow’s game is not going to matter for either team. I think Kerala Blasters are a good team and they will be one of the teams who will go into the next round, along with Chennai, Kolkata and Goa,” Materazzi predicted. 

Midfielder NP Pradeep, who hails from Kerala, was also present at the conference, and said he is feeling quite elated about playing at home after so long. The former India international also revealed that he is also very pleased with the whole ISL experience. 

“Initially, I wanted to play for Kerala Blasters but unfortunately that didn’t happen and I am now playing for Chennaiyin FC, which is great. Playing tomorrow at home is also an added bonus. With regards to the ISL experience, it is very important for us to learn from the players who are coming in from other countries with their (superior) footballing knowledge. It also helps the youngsters a lot,” he trailed off.

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