Chennaiyin FC interim head coach Syed Sabir Pasha expects the players to showcase their abilities to the fullest in the remaining two matches of the season, as they prepare to face Kerala Blasters FC in their Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 match at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco, Goa on Sunday.

The former champions lost 1-4 to Jamshedpur FC in their previous and are currently on a six-match winless run. They are at the eighth position in the league table, with 20 points from 18 matches and already out of contention for the top-four finish.

Pasha addressed the media during the pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s game.

Here are the excerpts from the press conference:

You have seen the players from close quarters throughout the season. How have they improved along the season and how are you preparing for the last two matches?

Pasha: It is all about motivating the players, because it is the end of the season, everybody is in a different mood because we are out of the title race, all these things are there. But, the only thing is that they should know that they are professionals. There is not a single match which is simple or a match just like that.

Every match is a competition. They have to push themselves and that is the point we are trying to put out. It is a difficult situation here, with the bubble and all these things. We have been motivating them and we expect more from the players in the upcoming two matches.

Ariel Borisiuk is out for the next match and Chennaiyin FC is out of the title race. Are you planning to hand over more playing time to youngsters?

Pasha: We can’t put the team at risk by fielding all young players. There will be youngsters, but it will be a mix of youth and experience going into this match.

Given the current situation of Chennaiyin FC, has the team started preparing for the next season?

Pasha: Yes, naturally. That’s what the boys have to play for, play for their future, their contracts. These two matches are to prove themselves to show where they lie and are they good enough to play for Chennaiyin FC again or not. We hope that these guys look forward to that and give their best in the upcoming matches.

Chennaiyin FC defender Deepak Devrani was also present at the press conference, also responding to the questions put forward by the media.

Here are the excerpts from the players’ press conference:

How do you rate your season so far and playing under Bozidar Bandovic and Syed Sabir Pasha?

Devrani: When I started the season, it was not the way I had expected, but I will always be thankful to (Bozidar) Bandovic for giving me my first start (in the Hero ISL) and I learnt a lot when I was under him. And now with Syed Sabir Pasha, he knew me from before. He trusted me from the first day of the training session, till now. I will be thankful to him and the management for giving me a chance, I am trying my best, but the results are not as expected, the fans are not happy. But, we are putting our 100% and will give our best in the last two matches.

From Chennaiyin FC’s point of view, it has been an inconsistent season. Where do you think it went wrong?

Devrani: We are trying in every game, we go with full confidence, but sometimes it’s your luck. Sometimes, it helps you, sometimes it doesn’t help you. The games which we could have won were draws, the games which should have been draws, we lost. It may have been due to lapse of concentration and also due to injuries, most of the season we have not played with our full strength squad. All these things really hurt us.