We expect a strong East Bengal side: Jamshedpur FC's Owen Coyle

Jamshedpur FC coach Owen Coyle laid emphasis on having composure and balance in their gameplay when they face SC East Bengal in their opening fixture of the Hero ISL 2021-22 season on November 21, 2021 at the Tilak Maidan Stadium, in Vasco da Gama, Goa.

The Men of Steel are yet to taste victory against the Red and Gold Brigade in their two matches so far, drawing one and losing one in the previous campaign.

In his second year as Jamshedpur FC head coach, Coyle will look to guide his team to the semi-finals and a win over SC East Bengal would be a good way to get things going.

Ahead of their encounter against SC East Bengal, Jamshedpur FC coach Owen Coyle and skipper Peter Hartley greeted the media during a pre-match press conference.

Here are the excerpts from the Press Conference:

Historically East Bengal has been known to play physical football and assuming the same philosophy continues. How would you counter that as a manager?

Coyle: East Bengal is a whole new team in terms of turnover of players, successful foreigners, all particularly good players. Mrcela [Tomislav], Dervisevic [Amir] who's a champion. The two strikers, Chukwu [Daniel], the Nigerian who has won championships at Molde FK, and Perosevic [Antonio], who is an immensely talented striker. They did very well, I would suggest he's gone with a foreign recruitment. And again, they have a number of players that we already know in terms of domestic Jacki [Jackichand], joined by the others.

Despite playing well against East Bengal a couple of times, it turned out to be frustrating at times with them because you lost one of the key ones. So how committed will players be considering it's a season opener, how committed will the players be to get those three points?

Coyle: The players want to win against East Bengal as they would want to win against Jamshedpur FC. And now obviously the competition starts, and everybody wants to get points as early as they can.

Regardless of what happened last season or who you played against, it will absolutely have no bearing on the games that you play this season because it's a new competition. There are new teams and a lot of teams have certainly changed their personnel and so you have to be ready for that challenge.

You have to be ready for the team that you play against with talented players coming in and a good team so you know the players will be well warned about the threats that East Bengal have as always, and we have to make sure that we deliver an even better performance and that's the key.

So, Owen firstly, good six-week pre-season, just like you wanted. The team combination seemed strong for the performances in the pre-season. How would you describe the preparation so far?

Coyle: Yeah, I think we've worked extremely hard in the pre-season, as we had to do. There's obviously been a long layoff. And within that, we have to make sure that, you know, you don't do too much too quickly. It can lead to injuries and such forth. And we've had a few niggles.

We've had one or two concerns, like every other team would have. But I think, hopefully looking forward to these big games, we have a group available that plays together the very best, the preseason went very well as was taught, but as always, you know, it's when the season starts, that's what counts.

Given the depth of this squad, how confident are you of making it into the semi-finals this season? And would not qualifying for the semi-finals be considered a failure this season?

Coyle: Well, I'll take away anything, we are the same as any other team, we want to be in those positions. We want to be challenging to be up there at the very top till the end. Of course, we do. And everybody aspires to be one of us, that's why it's such a competitive league.

What we have done in the squad improvement from last year in Jamshedpur was for everyone to see. I think the previous 10 games of last season, Jamshedpur took the least points off anybody. So, there was a big job to be done.

We certainly improved enormously, but not enough to be in those playoff positions last year, okay, we all became remarkably close. And I've got to say one or two things that went away with the team itself. And those punches that being said, we can't affect what's behind us, what we can affect is on what's to come.

Again, coming back to the full foreigners. Would that also be a selection headache for you? Six quality foreign players?

Coyle: Yeah, I think I've got to say I think that's an extremely good question. I think that's a real dilemma, because I do believe the six foreign players have got along well having fantastic qualities, fantastic attributes that have shown up really well in pre-season.

And, of course, that's a good problem to have, rather than seeing players out of shape and not performing well. These boys are in great shape as well. So of course, as a head coach, that's a real dilemma that we can all live for on the field at any given time.

Here are the excerpts from Peter Hartley press conference:

Talking about the opponent, SC East Bengal, how would Jamshedpur FC tackle a quality team like SC East Bengal?

Hartley: Last season we didn't beat East Bengal, we got driven and were defeated by them, so we owe them one. This season, we've got more than capable quality to go and beat them, but they've got some real good players, some very good strikers and good center-halves. So, we’ve got to nullify their threat and then bring our strengths into play and hopefully if we can get the boys firing up front like they have been in preseason then I don't see it being a problem.

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