Owen Coyle: Have to play much better if we want to be champions
Chennaiyin FC booked their place in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 final despite a 4-2 loss against a spirited FC Goa side in the second leg of their semi-final clash at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa on Saturday. Chennaiyin edged out the Gaurs 6-5 on aggregate, courtesy their 4-1 home victory in the first leg.
At the post-match press conference, Chennaiyin head coach Owen Coyle assessed the match and said, “Goa started brightly and we didn’t, truth be told. I have said before that Goa are a quality side and they don’t require to be handed any gifts. We didn’t pass the ball well enough and the early own goal gave them a tremendous lift. Mourtada Fall scored a wonderful goal to make it 2-0. One more goal and they would have had the advantage. But that’s the moment for a cool head. Then we started to get a grip on the game but could have done better.”
“The message at half time was simple. We knew if we started passing the ball better, we would create chances. We did that and scored. In fact, I am annoyed that we lost. After it was 2-2, we could have won. That being said, the objective was to win over the two legs and we did that. No one would argue we were the better team over the two legs. Getting past Goa, who have been the best team over the course of the season, represents an outstanding effort by everyone involved,” he added.
Lauding the team for the way they bounced back with two early goals in the second half, Coyle stated, “At 2-0 down at half-time, it was the time for calm, not ranting and raving and putting players under pressure. Stars shine the brightest in darkness. That’s what we did tonight. We were staring down darkness being 2-0 down and that’s when the stars came out to play. It was wonderful and I am delighted.”
Looking ahead, Coyle stated, “I don’t think we played at our best tonight but to be champions, we have to play at our best next week. Whoever we play will be a tough test because both Bengaluru FC and ATK FC are very good teams.”
Asked which Indian player has impressed him the most over the course of the season, he opined, “I don’t like to single out individuals because our strength is as a group. I love working with the Indian boys. I think the likes of Jerry Lalrinzuala, Germanpreet Singh, Laldinliana Renthlei, and others, are more than capable of being in the national team for what they do for our team. A few weren’t at their best tonight, but over the course of the season I have been impressed with their desire, their attitude. There his huge potential in the country if we invest in grassroots. The players will only improve and that’s only good for the national team.”
Read the Match Report here.