Chennaiyin FC head coach Thomas Brdarić acknowledged Mumbai City FC's ambition to be the champions of Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 season and asked his team to be aware of their qualities as his side hosts Mumbai City FC in matchweek 6 of the Hero ISL at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Chennai, on Saturday.

The Marina Machans have won six matches out of 16 against the former Hero ISL champions and have failed to get a single win in the last five outings in the league. Bradric's men are looking to put to an end to this winless run.

The German was accompanied by Aakash Sangwan, who is expected to get his name in the coach's starting XI for the first time. Brdarić also talked about the availability of players and team's learnings from past matches.

Here are the excerpts from Brdaric conference:

Vafa Hakhamaneshi has been vital for the backline. So how much do you think Chennaiyin FC will miss Vafa? And are you looking at Aakash Sangwan to start tomorrow in the Playing 11? 

Brdaric: Aakash Sangwan will replace Narayan Das and we also have another change with Vafa Hakhamaneshi and for this case we are preparing Julius Duker to (be) place(d) in that position.

Could you give us injury updates of Kwame Karikari? In the last match Nasser El Khayati did not get any minutes, any reason for that?

Brdaric: Kwame Karikari is unfortunately not ready to play. He got an injury last week, and El Khayati is an option for the match, and we have lots of players. Players are able to prove themselves to show us how they want to play in training sessions and to give options to make for me. It's then more easy to make the line-ups and that's why we are a team. We are trying to improve every day, to build a team, to create and to be an important part in this Hero ISL season. Everybody can contribute to this team and we are waiting and they should deliver and to get the chances to play.

Update on Vincy Barretto and Romario Jesuraj? How long will it take for them to earn a place?

Brdaric: Vincy Barretto is also a very eager, humble guy. He must learn from training sessions if he gets minutes, to understand what he has to implement in the game, to take his strengths for our advantage. We have lots of players, they are very close, if not for starting a level, but to be in the squad. I try to find the best team who is able to play strong and to be strong in our mindset, in our settings and the players must be prepared. That's why we are working all the time, every day with a mindset to be mentally fit and have a physically good preparation. Because some players didn't have all the preparation time and that's why they have to invest double in training sessions than other players, who play much more games.

It's been raining since yesterday and heavy rain is forecast for Saturday as well. So do you think the weather and the pitch conditions will affect the games?

Brdaric: Yeah, that's why we avoided last week to bounce directly back to Chennai. We decided to stay back in Kolkata because the conditions are pretty good there. Both teams have to play under the same conditions on Saturday and to deal with that, it's also a challenge. We know about this kind of monsoon rain here in Chennai and we have to be prepared for that to understand how to work with them, to play on this ground.

How do you assess Mumbai city FC?

Brdaric: Mumbai City FC is a big club, so honored to play against them, to have this challenge. It's kind of a special game to play against them. Their targets are clear. So first, we have first to understand how we have to play against them as they have good strength and individual qualities. We (have to) try to switch off them and to understand to not give them spaces. They want to play with the ball, they have really good abilities and we'll analyze them and try to do our best.

You've already played Mumbai City FC earlier in this season before the Hero ISL. Will the learnings from that match help the team?

Brdaric: Everybody is learning from the games, training sessions, and findings like how to take conclusions in the right moment. We did it in the last week as well to understand how we have to improve, what we have to improve. We took all the games and to understand how we have to play against them. In the Durand cup, it was a little bit different. It was the first time to play against the big teams, and see how it works.

On Saturday, they (Mumbai City FC) are under pressure, we'll be under pressure too as we play at home. So, we want to keep them stressed, (want them to) make mistakes that are not able to make good decisions. We make use of all the games in the past, so it doesn't matter if it's Durand Cup or Hero ISL, we have to play to our advantage.

Here are the excerpts from Sangwan’s conference :

You played almost an entire game last time, so you know how good was it to get a game under the belt and how confident you are going into the next game?

Sangwan: Well, it was a really good moment for me. I got the assist and I believe I am confident going into the game and it feel really good.