Owen Coyle: Every game presents different challenges

Chennaiyin FC face off against Southern rivals Bengaluru FC in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Sunday. Chennaiyin have been in brilliant form since the turn of 2020 and will look to continue their run against the defending champions to help their bid to finish in the top four.

At the pre-match press conference, Chennaiyin head coach Owen Coyle said, “We have respect for Bengaluru because they are the defending champions for a reason, but we do not fear them. We’re ready for the game and to play to the best of our ability. Bengaluru have been very good in the last few seasons, but Chennaiyin have been equally good in the past. We have been two-time champions along with ATK FC. Bengaluru have a good coach and good players. They are a very good unit defensively. But we have good players as well and we’re ready to win.”

Referring to Chennaiyin’s 6-3 victory against Kerala Blasters in their last outing, Coyle opined that his team needs to strive for similar levels of performance if they are to get anything out of the Bengaluru match. “Every game you play in the Hero ISL presents different challenges. Last week, we were tested because the front two of Kerala (Messi Bouli and Bartholomew Ogbeche) are as good as anyone else in the league. We knew that at times we were going to be tested. But we knew that we could cause them some damage going forward as well. So that’s what we will have to do against Bengaluru,” he stated.  

Speaking about Chennaiyin’s top four chances, Coyle noted, “It’s not about the results of the other matches, it’s about ourselves. We have to carry on maintaining our standards and do our jobs. If we win our games, we can get enough points to secure a spot in the semis. We were bottom of the league when I came in, top four seemed very far away. We had to find a way to utilize the quality of our squad and win matches, not draw them. We have not only built a team that is talented individually, but we are also an exciting team as a group. It is always nice if a result elsewhere goes in your favour, but we must do our own job too. Our focus now is only the match against Bengaluru.”

Underlining confidence as the biggest factor behind Chennaiyin’s miraculous turnaround this season, Coyle remarked, “Confidence is a huge thing in football. Having scored four goals in six matches, we had to build on the confidence before anything else. We want to win games, we want our fans to look forward to coming to the games because we have a strong and exciting team. We want them to leave with a smile. Put this all together and It doesn't get any better.”

He was joined by Edwin Vanspaul, who spoke about Coyle’s role in helping him settle into a midfield role after starting the season as a left-back. “It had been a long time since I’ve played in the midfield position. Credit goes to the coach. He showed confidence in me and played me in midfield. Even if I miss a pass, he will have words of advice and encouragement for me. I do feel more pressure in this position, but the coach has confidence in me,” he said.

Read the Match Preview here.

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