Chennaiyin FC interim head coach Sabir Pasha believes a change in formation has helped his players gain confidence as they face Jamshedpur FC in match 96 of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 at Tilak Maidan Stadium, Vasco da Gama on Sunday.

Chennaiyin FC are eighth in the points table with 20 points in 17 matches. They have failed to record a single win in their last five games and are now six points adrift of the top four.

CFC drew 2-2 against Odisha FC in their last match. They came back from a goal down to make it 2-2, earning a point. They had three shots on target to Odisha FC’s six.

Also read: Match 96 preview: High-flying Jamshedpur FC face Chennaiyin FC with semi-final spot in sight

Ahead of Chennaiyin FC’s clash against Jamshedpur FC, coach Pasha and forward Nerijus Valskis addressed the media during the official pre-match press conference.

Here are the excerpts from Pasha’s press conference.

What are the positives you would take from the last match?

Pasha: The boys showed character in the last game. It’s always difficult after conceding five goals against FC Goa in the last game, conceding two goals against Odisha FC and then coming back. The boys showed character. That’s what we were lacking. I think the players have to carry the character forward in the next match. We have a tough match again in just three days. So, it’s hard. But they are professionals. They will show character and give a real fight.

You have tweaked the formation a bit from before, how well do you think the team has adapted to it? And do you think it can be followed next season as well?

Pasha: See, it’s according to the quality of the players. There was a point to the formation Bozidar (Bandovic) was playing. Because he was thinking more about our defence. He felt in order to defend properly we need that formation. But I think at one point you have to go up, you can’t just sit back. Of course there are ifs and buts. We have what we have. We have to go forward with it and give confidence to the players.

How do you see the match against Jamshedpur FC?

Pasha: When you talk about Jamshedpur FC, they are a very good side. They are good in both defence and attack. We have to lift our game. We have to up the numbers from the last match. We have to be stronger in defence. They have dangerous players who can harm but we will be ready for it.

You have been an assistant coach at Chennaiyin FC under five coaches, how different was it managing the team from sidelines as interim head coach?

Pasha: It’s always a big responsibility to manage players. Everybody is a good player, they are playing at the top. But ultimately only 11 players are going to play. So, managing is very important. I try to do my best to keep them all happy but it’s difficult. But we have to keep them in a good atmosphere. Most importantly, they should feel confident and they give their best in the game.

Here are the excerpts from Valskis’s press conference.

You scored in the last match, so how do you see the last few matches? And what is it like to play for Chennaiyin FC’s fans?

Valskis: I am happy with my goal but not happy with the result. In general, I am feeling much better. And yes almost all players feel more comfortable in this formation and they can show their best game. In the last three games, we need to fight, show our energy and try to take as many points as possible.

Do you plan to continue playing at Chennaiyin FC beyond this season?

Valskis: We haven’t spoken about it yet. We have a contract till the end. But we talked about it before I joined. I will be happy if they offer me a contract. I want to stay here. I don’t want to go somewhere else. I don’t want to go anywhere else. I am happy to be back home and I feel comfortable here.