Owen Coyle: We forced the mistakes out of Kerala

Chennaiyin FC leapfrogged Odisha FC to rise to the fifth spot in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 table with a 6-3 win over Southern rivals Kerala Blasters FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Saturday. The two-time champions are now just two points behind fourth-placed Mumbai City FC, with a game in hand.

Speaking at the post-match press conference, Chennaiyin head coach Owen Coyle gave his opinion on the win and said, “We came here to win, and we had to make sure that we carried on the momentum and leave no place for complacency. There was a little bit of complacency in the second half when we were three goals up because we were in control of the game. We had to continue doing the same things.”

Lauding his team’s attacking players, Coyle added, “As an attacking force, we were at the top of our game. We can score goals against any team in this league. I think it’s the first time in Hero ISL history that a team has scored six goals away from home. But it counts for nothing if we don’t get where we want to be, that is the fourth place.”

He then addressed his team’s poor defensive display in the second half, which allowed Kerala some hope of getting something out of the match. “We didn’t want to be too negative in the second half. My message to the players was keep doing what you’ve been doing. I feel that during a 10-minute period, we stopped passing the ball as effectively as we had been.”

Asked if mistakes by Kerala helped his team’s cause, the 53-year-old opined, “I think mistakes were made because we put them under pressure in certain areas we had worked on. We kind of forced those mistakes. We must learn when we have to capitalise on these opportunities. Offensively I am delighted, but defensively, it is something we need to strive to get better at. We are still a work in progress, but we are getting better.”

Coyle also had some warm words in store for Kerala’s frontmen – Bartholomew Ogbeche and Messi Bouli. “I have to give credit to the two Kerala strikers. Ogbeche and Messi Bouli can play for anybody in the league. They are wonderful players,” he stated.

Read the Match Report here.

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