Chennaiyin FC head coach Thomas Brdaric was proud of his players’ efforts on the pitch despite his side’s 1-2 loss against Mumbai City FC in matchweek 12 of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Mumbai Football Arena, in Mumbai, on Saturday.

The Marina Machans yet again opened the scoring tonight - as they did in the reverse fixture at home - but ended up on the losing side. Petar Sliskovic’s clever goal was cancelled out by a quick and stunning strike by Lallianzuala Chhangte followed by a genius strike by Greg Stewart in the second half that put the game to bed.

Brdaric also stated that his side gave the opponents a tough fight and that the scoreline justifies the result.

“We put in a very good performance. We can be really proud of the efforts and in the way we faced Mumbai City FC. I still can’t believe that we lost this match. Of course, in the second half it was an evenly balanced match and was an open game. We conceded one goal. But I mean, it was really justified, I mean, we saw it,” the head coach expressed.

The first half of the game witnessed a brilliant duel between Greg Stewart and Saurav Das, with the latter managing to keep the Islanders’ talisman in check. However, that wasn’t the case in the second half. Brdaric commented on his presence in the game and revealed that they tried everything possible but couldn’t carve out a win.

“You can mark good players all the time, (but) they find a way every time, to slip, to shrug off, and to get places. And of course, they are also working on that, to create more opportunities, and you can't defend everything. But how we defended today, we can be really, I mean, in that way to play here against the top team in the league, makes me completely proud,” he added.

The 47-year-old also expressed the competitiveness their opponents showed on the pitch and clarified the differences between the two sides.

“And we can be competitive with those teams that are working already 1-2-3 years together, they're building, they have much more financial opportunities, and with my guys to come here, and to play the game, I mean, how we all seem more incentivized,” he added.

Having played in the reverse fixture of the same game, Hero ISL 2022-23’s top scorer with seven goals, Abdenasser El Khayati, missed out on tonight’s game due to an injury. Brdaric highlighted the absence of the talisman as to how a player of his calibre would have made a difference in tonight’s game.

“He’s a top player we’re missing. (We didn’t) want to get caught in front of the goal because we created good opportunities that could’ve been exploited. Of course, with (Abde) Nasser, we’re missing a great player who can make differences in tonight’s game,” he said.

The German was proud of his players for their ever-fighting spirit that was able to give one of the strongest teams in the league a tough fight despite the loss.

“We tried to bring a strong team in this game that was able to win. I mean, we tried our hardest to defeat the opponent and that was our aim all the time. I'm very proud that I have these kinds of players and we try to do our best to work hard to catch points, and if not, you have to learn from that,” the head coach concluded.