To win in Kolkata is a big success for us: Chennaiyin FC head coach Thomas Brdaric
Two-time Hero Indian Super League (ISL) champions Chennaiyin FC registered a stunning comeback as they stunned ATK Mohun Bagan 2-1 in their opening match of the 2022-23 season at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan Stadium in Kolkata.
Manvir Singh found the net for the Mariners in the first half, but the Marina Machans rallied and hit back through goals from Kwame Karikari and Rahim Ali after the break, scripting their first-ever win against ATK Mohun Bagan while also reaching the 200-goal mark, becoming the third Hero ISL club to do so.
Chennaiyin FC head coach Thomas Brdaric was pleased with his side’s comeback and heaped praise on the team despite some standout individual performances on the night.
Here are the excerpts from his press conference:
What did you tell your players at half-time?
We are very proud to have won the three points and make our club owners and fans happy. I'm very pleased with my players. We played in a professional way. Of course, in the first half we lacked some concentration. I was also surprised (that we made) too many simple mistakes. I knew that it would be tough to survive the first 15-20 minutes because we have some players who are struggling a bit. But in this case, we should take the experience to our advantage and to do it better next time. But with three points in the pocket, we travel back to Chennai and this is the most important thing.
Debjit Majumder made some important saves. Thoughts on his performance?
To single out one player, it’s not fair. It was a team performance and what I asked and expected from the players, they were able to implement that in the game. ATK Mohun Bagan is not a very bad team. They have one of the best squads, and a good coach. To win here is a big success for us. And yes, Debjit in the past, had some tough moments but his goalkeeping coach did a pretty good job (in getting him ready), as with the other keepers. He was a really good wall in defence and he saved some really good chances from our opponents. I'm very happy that I have him in my team.
Updates on the injuries of Jiteshwor Singh and Ajith Kumar?
Ajith and Jiteshwor’s injuries are not a big deal. Fallou (Diagne), we wanted to protect him because he's a very important player. Doesn't matter how many minutes he's playing. He’s very important for our game, to keep the opposition attack quiet. I was aware in the second half that the game would change, and I told the players, “I believe in you. We have a lot of power until 90 minutes. We can bounce back in the game.” They did a pretty good job in the second half and we changed the result. With the injuries, it's nothing special and I hope we can continue with the same players in Chennaiyin against Bengaluru FC.
Thoughts on Kwame Karikari’s performance?
Kari is a very important player. He should make the difference (in the coming games). I told the guys today, we want to make a difference. We also have players also on the bench who can come on and change games. We have a big squad and Kari’s one part of it. He’s very humble and modest with his position. We know about his qualities and are very happy that we have brought him in our squad and he paid off with his performance. With the penalty (that he took) and then (the assist), he provided the second goal (for Rahim Ali).