Owen Coyle: We found form just at the right time

The final match of the Hero Indian Super league (Hero ISL) 2019-20 league phase will see NorthEast United FC host Chennaiyin FC at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Tuesday. Having handsomely turned their season around, Chennaiyin have already booked a place in the semi-finals but will look to win Tuesday’s match in a bid to finish the league phase in third position.

At the pre-match press conference, Chennaiyin head coach Owen Coyle admitted that he will be making wholesale changes to safeguard his players for the upcoming semi-finals, but reiterated the team’s desire to win the contest. “Firstly, we want to win the game. With that being said, we will not go in with a lot of the boys who played in Mumbai match because we have a few players on three yellow cards. So, it would be naïve to risk them picking up a yellow (and getting suspended for the semis). But the boys who will play against NorthEast will give their everything. We have prepared for this like we do for any game. For me, there will be changes but we will definitely go for the win. It’ll be an opportunity for lot of the young players to show what they can do in the Hero ISL.”

Speaking about Chennaiyin’s brilliant turnaround since his arrival, Coyle noted, “I had to find a formula to win games because one point from matches wasn’t going to be enough. The players have been terrific since day one and they have the quality. I like to think we have a strong mentality right now because we had to quickly evaluate the players and find the winning formula, and we did that. The players are sometimes not given due credit. I am really pleased with my players. We had a number of injuries, but we showed real character and desire and that, for me, was pleasing.”

“We got 19 points from a possible 21 in our last seven matches and I am truly thrilled to be in the top four. Now we are looking forward to the semis because there are equally good opponents. I think it’ll be an exciting end to the season. We hit form at the right time and all we have to do is see this through,” he added.

Coyle also informed that Chennaiyin’s player and goalkeeping coach Karanjit Singh is in line to make his first start of the season between the posts in place of first-choice custodian Vishal Kaith. “Karanjit (Singh) will captain the team. I have to say that Vishal has been one of the best players in the league and that is because Karanjit has been pushing him. That’s why I have faith in him,” he revealed.

Karanjit, who accompanied Coyle to the briefing, spoke about the Irishman’s effect on the team and stated, “After the coach arrived many things changed in training. The coach trusts each and every player. The mentality and unity of the players and our performances are testament to that.”

Read the Match Preview here.


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