Owen Coyle: We are moving in the right direction

Chennaiyin FC will look to continue their resurgence under Owen Coyle when they welcome Jamshedpur FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Thursday. The two-time Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) champions are in good form after winning back-to-back matches against Hyderabad FC and NorthEast United FC. Courtesy of those results, the Marina Machans have given themselves a chance in the top four race, but will need maximum points from the Jamshedpur fixture.

According to Coyle, however, the task will hardly be a straightforward one, especially given the lift Jamshedpur received in their last tie. Speaking at the pre-match press conference, the Chennaiyin head coach said, “I think every game you play, you’ve got to understand that you’re playing against very good opponents in the Hero ISL. Every team have talent players, dangerous players.”

“Coming into the game, Jamshedpur will take a big lift from winning against Kerala. That was an important three points for them. It will give them a boost. We have shown that offensively we can be very dangerous. But we’ve got to get the balance correct. We are moving in the right direction. We’re nowhere near where we want to be, but we are enjoying the journey,” he added.

The 53-year-old also expressed that the match against Jamshedpur will hold just as much significance as his team’s last tie against NorthEast United. “I think there are many similarities to the game against NorthEast. They (Jamshedpur) would want to win the match. For us, it’s about our own agenda, our own objectives, and that’s to try and keep winning games. After the first six matches, we had given ourselves a lot to do.”

“But now because we are playing well, scoring goals and entertaining in matches, we have given ourselves a chance to climb the table. To do that, I have to say that we need to be at our very best. Jamshedpur are a fine side with a fantastic coach. I’ve enjoyed his (Antonio Iriondo’s) company. Very good coach. But we will concentrate on what we can do at Chennaiyin, and if we play to our maximum again with the fantastic support at home, which is very important, then it’s a game we can win,” he added.

“A win gives us a chance to close in on the places at the top end of the league. That’s our objective and the players have been working very hard to try and do that. It’s an opportunity to win three games in a row. We had to win at Hyderabad to break our poor away record. In the NorthEast game, it was a chance to win back-to-back games, which we hadn’t done for a long time. Now against Jamshedpur, we will want to continue that run and keep on playing good football. It’s an exciting game that we are all looking forward to,” concluded the Chennaiyin head coach.

Goalkeeper Vishal Kaith, who was seated beside Coyle at the media briefing, said, “Clean sheets are important to me but not more than three points. We want to win, clean sheet or not. We have to win the match. We will focus and try to keep a clean sheet. Last game, the team did well to earn a clean sheet. We will try to repeat it.”

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