Chennaiyin FC head coach Thomas Brdaric rued his side’s missed opportunities and urged his players to improve their finishing, as his side found themselves on the losing side in a 1-3 defeat to Hyderabad FC in matchweek nine of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 season at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Chennai, on Saturday.

Halicharan Narzary, Chinglensana Singh, and Borja Herrera were on the scoresheet for Hyderabad FC while Petar Sliskovic scored a consolation goal for the Marina Machans as the loss kept them in the seventh position with 10 points. 

Brdaric, who attended the post-match press conference, cautioned his players to be clinical in attack and have composure in the defence to be able to compete with the top teams in the league. The German further mentioned about his side’s recurring mistakes and demanded his players to omit them in order to gain better results in the upcoming games.

Here are the excerpts from Brdaric’s press conference:

It was a game of two halves and you got the better of Hyderabad FC in the first half with several opportunities. But the second half changed the complexion of the game. What are your views on tonight's loss?

When you face hard teams and if you get the opportunities against them, then you have to exploit (such opportunities). We had three-four opportunities, and against top teams, you don’t get more. We weren’t able to produce these kinds of chances. I had a good feeling in the first half because everybody was playing their part, and in the second half, we were five percent down. Hyderabad FC have top players, they can change the pace of the game and produced (chances), and punished us in really bad moments. This is what we have to understand (that) if we were to compare and compete against those teams, it must be a perfect match.

You made four changes to the lineup today. You also started with (Abdenasser) El Khayati in the lineup. So, how is that coming along for the team?  

Yes. We are in the development (stage) and we have players who are injured, especially with (Anirudh) Thapa and Jiteshwor (Singh) in the centre. So, we have to figure out what is the best opportunity and we need to balance that in the team. The balance (in this game) for us was to play with one centre-back, to give Gurmukh Singh the chance to play, with Edwin (Vanspaul) and Julius (Duker) in the centre.

In the first half, we played well, and then afterwards in the second half, we weren't as concentrated as we were in the first half, and then they punished us very well.

At times, the team is really struggling to keep clean sheets. Do you think it is mainly down to the lack of intensity or as you said it is due to getting things wrong in the defence?

First of all, after the match, we have to be accountable. We are very emotional during the game, but when you see the way we concede the goals, it's too simple. It's a kind of present, what we gave the opponents. We can clear the ball, we can shoot the ball out of the danger zone, but we (end up) playing the ball in the feet of the opponent so that he should score. 

It's very simple. I mean, the second goal we conceded was the same, we were not able to clear the ball out of the danger zone. This is what we have to understand, that if we show the opponent these kinds of things, then it could happen that they can punish us. Top teams could punish us and next week won’t get any easier, so we have to understand to improve in some spells and to be better.

After a loss like this, do you think Chennaiyin FC should be looking at the table because they still have few games left? At this point what are you thinking that can change things going forward; what is the plan to get back to winning ways?

In my opinion, the way we’re moving forward is definitely decisive. Not to see a win or a loss, but to understand that every match is important to learn and if we learn from our mistakes, then we will improve. Not everything was bad in our game today, in some spells, we were pretty good. It was a tough match and the team showed character. So, we have to be 100% concentrated for the full 90 minutes, and if you will give your opponent these kinds of gifts, then it'll be tough to improve.

Looking at the positive side, (Petar) Sliskovic scored again. So, they seem to be developing an understanding across the game through to the next game. As you said in the last press conference that it is just a matter of scoring his first goal to get going. How do you look at this positive aspect of his?

The important thing is that we have a good axe, you know, in a game that we have a good balance. We’re missing players in Thapa and Jiteshwor, it’s very simple that we need all of them to understand that we have to keep going in a positive way. To understand that we have to stand up after falling down, to keep going in the right direction altogether.

Ajith (Kumar) got the double yellow and we have to replace him next week. So, another player will get his chance. I’m okay with the situation and know how to deal with that but we have to understand that we have to work hard and (know) that we really stand a chance at winning these kinds of matches. These kinds of matches also require (us) to have a hard-working mindset, and to be physically strong. These are the types of exercises we are trying to implement in the next week.