Jamshedpur FC head coach Aidy Boothroyd urged his players to focus on themselves and wants his team to climb further up the table, as his side prepares to face East Bengal FC in Matchweek 15 of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, in Kolkata, on Friday.

Coming on the back of a 2-2 draw against Chennaiyin FC in their previous game, Jamshedpur FC remained in the tenth position in the league standings with six points in 13 games.

Starting off the season under a new head coach and missing their marquee player Greg Stewart - who joined Mumbai City FC ahead of the ongoing season - the defending Hero ISL League Winners have had a contrasting journey this season as compared to their Shield triumph of last season. Boothroyd stressed on how different the scenario has been this season and shed light on his approach as the season progresses towards its business end.

“Well, it's never one thing. I think it's a product of many things. I think being in the bubble at Goa was a big help in terms of travelling for Jamshedpur FC. I think the other thing, the two glaring things, is the players that we had. So, Greg Stewart, top assist provider, top scorer, top destroyer, best player in the league. And the one best player without the ball, in my opinion, would be Pronay (Halder). So you take those two things out of a team and it's not the team it was,” stated Boothroyd in the official pre-match press conference.

“My job is to rebuild and sustain over a period of time. So, that's what I'm here to do, to work with the young players to bring them through, to work with the senior players as pillars of our team, and to be able to go on and win. That’s pretty much it in a nutshell. We lost key players in a bubble but we've shown some very positive shoots of recovery in the last four games. So now, we have to build on that and catch the next one above us if we can,” he added.

To aid their unsatisfactory season, the Men of Steel brought in three new additions in midfielders Rafael Crivellaro, Pronay Halder, and defender Dylan Fox. While Crivellaro and Halder have made their starts for the team and are already making an impact, Fox is yet to start a game for Boothroyd’s side. The 51-year-old highlighted the importance of the new additions and how they will integrate into the team.

“Well, very well in Dylan's case, he's had a little niggle. So, we haven't brought him this time but he’ll be fit and available for the next game. As for Pronay (Halder), he’s made a big difference to us already with his work around off the pitch and on the pitch. He's a very good player with a proven track record, and obviously a very big part of last year’s Jamshedpur FC squad in their run for the Shield. So, we're very pleased to have both players, and Raphael(Crivellaro) of course, so there'll be three very good additions,” the head coach said.

Having collected just one win out of 13 games, it’s a long stretch to make the playoffs for Jamshedpur FC. With four away games and three home games left to play, Boothroyd wants his side to not back down and believes his side is capable of covering ground. 

“A realistic goal would be to finish as high as we can. To try and make ground on those immediately above us. And I think once, we can get the momentum of playing games, we can start picking up points. There are so many times where this season we've sort of pulled our hair out. We've lost a game by a goal, last time here we lost by a goal. And really, we've just got to focus on ourselves with our new additions. And just keep plugging away until we can get as high up the table as we can. We play all those teams around us. So, it's our opportunity to put some points on the board,” he said.

Despite an unsettling season, the Jamshedpur FC fans have shown immense support to the team irrespective of the game being played at home or away. The fans have stuck through the team’s performance notwithstanding the home record they have had this season, picking up just one win out of 7 home games. Boothroyd applauded and admired their constant support and in return wants to deliver a good result come the end of the season.

“Well, I think we're very lucky, I'm certainly very lucky to have a group of supporters that are very positive, they get behind the team. They're very positive towards me. And I do appreciate that and that's why I want to work extra hard to make sure that we finish as strong as possible. And we build a club that can consistently win over a period of time. I'll look at the two teams at the top of the division, both with the longest serving managers, and for me, if I'm fortunate enough to get the time then I'm excited about turning it around and taking it forward,” he concluded.