Chennaiyin FC head Owen Coyle cut a very optimistic figure as his side take on East Bengal FC in a crunch game in the race for the playoff spots in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Salt Lake stadium in Kolkata on Monday. 

The Marina Machans have won just one of their last five matches in the league and have found success on the road hard to come by with the team tasting a win just once in the league this season. 

But going against an East Bengal FC side who have the same amount of points as his team having played the same number of matches, Coyle sees an opportunity to gain an upper hand in the race for playoffs. 

“I like Carles as a man. I think he is a good coach. East Bengal FC have some good players, but so have we,” Coyle said in the pre-match press conference. 

“We will be positive to win that game and then come back and have four home games which gives us the chance to pick up some big points,” he added. 

Chennaiyin FC are tenth in the table but are just five points behind sixth-placed Jamshedpur FC with two games in hand and several home games still to come. The Scottish head coach thus believes his team have a strong chance of reaching the knockout stage if they can win in Kolkata against East Bengal FC. 

“I think there are a lot of similarities between us and East Bengal FC. It's a huge game for both teams. The great thing for us is that everything is in our own hands,” Coyle said. 

“We have home games to play against Jamshedpur FC and NorthEast United FC. We have a great chance to reach the playoffs but to do that we have to be more consistent. When we have our best squad available, we can stand toe to toe with anybody,” he added. 

The Marina Machans have just four wins to their name this season and will need a few more if they are to book a place in the playoffs. Coyle feels the efforts are on to instil a winning mentality into his team but insisted that it will take some time. 

“We have a lot of young players whereas a lot of teams have readymade players. So we have to gamble. We are trying to build a mentality here to win games,” he said. 

“It is important to be physically fit but it's also important to have that mentality to win games which I know the team can,” he added. 

Chennaiyin FC are worst in the league in terms of chances created and shots attempted but Coyle refused to blame his attacking players for the lack of bute upfront. 

“We don’t talk about individuals. We win as a team and lose as a team,” Coyle said. 

“Rahim Ali works hard for this team. Rahim Ali is a terrific young player. Of course, he can improve but what he must do is to continue to work hard for the team,” he added answering a question about a lack of goals from their main Indian striker. 

Ryad Edwarda accompanied head coach Coyle in the pre-match press conference and felt that his team could take positives from their 0-2 loss against Mumbai City FC where they had a few big chances to take the lead in the match. 

“It will be a different game against East Bengal FC. But the first-half performance against Mumbai City FC was positive. If we can keep that up, I think we can go where we want to,” he said.