New Chennaiyin FC head coach Bandovic puts winning league above playing fancy football

Image credit: bbandovic@Instagram

After the disappointment of the last season in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) that saw them finish eighth in the standings, Chennaiyin FC brought on board Bozidar Bandovic as their new head coach earlier this month to turn their fortunes around. And Chennaiyin FC fans will be pleased to know what kind of ambition their new boss has going into the 2021-22 edition.

“If you play offensively and you lose the game, you win nothing. Most important thing is to help improve the player. Result is important of course. I like to control the game, create chances to score. But let me tell you something, in most of the leagues in the world every team that wins the league concedes fewer goals. It’s not just the offence. There has to be a balance. You have to defend very well. You can win a game with one quality player but you can’t win the league. If you want to win the league, for me as a coach, the team will win it, not one player,” he said on the latest episode of Football United.

The Montenegrin didn’t look perturbed at all when asked if he would be under pressure to perform considering the two-time champions had a poor last season. “I don’t have any problems with pressure. I have been working so many years, I was twice assistant coach, twice head coach. It’s big, big pressure. If you believe in yourself, you know what you are doing [pressure can be dealt with]… Of course, sometimes there is pressure but this is our work. If I can’t handle pressure, then I have to change the job. I can’t be a coach,” he said.

The 51-year-old also left an important message for the players in the team that’s likely to help them move on from the disappointment of 2020-21 before adding that the team this time won’t have the scoring issues like they had last season -- just 17 goals in 20 games which was the lowest across all 11 teams.

 “Confidence is something you get during the work every day. If a player is afraid of making mistakes, he can’t play; he doesn’t have confidence. I want to them play freely and I want them to do things that I ask them. I will put them in a situation to show their quality and I want them to try. If you don’t try, you don’t know what you will get.

“…We will have players to score goals this season and we have Rafael Crivellaro coming back [who missed the most of the 2020-21 season through injury], so I am hoping the team will be much better,” he said.

While Bandovic acknowledged that Chennaiyin FC have some nice domestic talents, he made it clear that the local players need to do more in order to get better. “I have seen their matches from last season and the quality of domestic players is good. But that’s not enough. There is a lot of room for improvement. I believe I can make them better. But I will need their help. I need them to understand [his ideas], work every day, give their best if they want to get better. When I was a player, I wanted my coach to support me, help make me better and to be fair with me. I haven’t forgotten that,” he said.

Finally, Bandovic said he was sure that with the support of fans and the players, Chennaiyin FC, under his supervision, can go a long way. “I don’t have to say that they will support us. For me, whether I’m working as an assistant coach or head coach, at the end of the day, it is their team. So, they will support me; they will support every player. Because they love the team. This team is a family. Energy of the coach is energy of the team on the field …We have to be together. When we are together, we can do anything.”

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