Chennaiyin FC head coach Owen Coyle expressed pride in his team's performance as they secured a convincing 5-1 victory against Punjab FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Sunday.

The Marina Machans handed the ISL debutants their third defeat of the season. This triumph was achieved through a brilliant team performance from the home side. Connor Shields netted twice while Ryan Edwards, Vincy Berretto, and Rafael Crivellaro also put their name on the scoresheet for Chennaiyin FC. Punjab FC's lone scorer was Krishnanandan Singh, who scored the consolation goal late in the game.

Coyle was ecstatic at his team's performance and felt that they had displayed brilliant football.

“That 25-minute spell playing 11 v 11, we were outstanding. Some of the best football, even from my sixth season – I mean, some of the football we played in those 25 minutes was outstanding. That's what we need to bring. We have to keep delivering it every week. We know that we've been in more threatening positions in our league than anybody else, but we might not always provide that final quality or the decisive pass to create opportunities. However, we did that tonight. If you look at the variety, it was all different types. These are the things we've been working on in training, so it's gratifying when they come to fruition,” Coyle stated in the post-match press conference.

The 57-year-old started Rahim Ali as the number 9, with Shields operating on the wings. The two swapped positions very aptly, and Coyle was highly impressed by Ali's unselfishness in football that night, especially in how he set up goals for his teammates.

"Rahim Ali is a fantastic player. He's a fantastic team player and I have no fear of trying new things. In season six, I was probably the only coach who played two Indian midfielders. In this season, I played Rahim Ali as a number nine. You saw him tonight, and even though he didn't score, he could have taken the penalty because he takes penalties as well. Instead, he gave it to Rafa, which is admirable because Rahim could have scored as well. His work rate, the chances he created for others, and his selfless performance were truly impressive. It was a significant team effort, and I hope there's more to come from him," he said.

Coyle feels his team is overcoming their difficulties and looks forward to a successful finish this season.

"When a season starts, it's not how you start a season; it's how you finish a season. And as we all know too well at this fantastic football club, I never get too high. But equally, I don't get too low. I look at it, I analyze it. On balance, we had the best first chance in every game," he opined.

The Scottish-Irish tactician was also full of praise for the performance of Shields, who scored twice on the night and also contributed defensively with his exceptional work rate.

"When he has goals, it just elevates him. But even when he doesn't, his work rate and his appetite for the team are outstanding. He's a part of a very tight-knit group. They're a good bunch of lads to work with," he concluded.