Chennaiyin FC head coach Thomas Brdaric was delighted with his team’s performance and the way they bounced back with a good mentality and power as they held Kerala Blasters FC in a tightly-contested 1-1 draw at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Chennai, in the latest fixture of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) on Monday.

Sahal Samad opened the scoring for the visitors in the 23rd minute but Bradric’s men responded strongly in the second half and scored in the 48th minute as Vincy Barretto smashed the ball home from close range. Chennaiyin FC sit in the seventh spot on Hero ISL points table whereas, Kerala Blasters FC remain in the fourth spot as the league crosses the halfway mark.

Addressing the media at the post-match conference, Brdaric called on his players to learn from their past mistakes and not repeat them again as the team pushes on for the playoff spot. Brdaric also spoke about players improving their levels for the tough competition in Hero ISL, the supporters, and the whole squad coming together to be part of the CFC family.

Here are the excerpts from Brdaric’s press conference:

What are your views on the performance?

I'm delighted that we bounced back, with a good mentality and power. It was a good effort as we played against a good team, the team who had won their last five matches. As a coach you're never satisfied, we have to improve of course but today with the circumstances, the fans and the opponents, it was a great event. I'm really proud of the fans, how they support us and the atmosphere, that's something that we need.

Do these sets of players fit into your style of play?

It takes time to develop the team and which players we have on the bench. This is our work, our achievement. We have a big squad, we don't have quality balanced throughout. We have players that make the difference, today I trust the players who have been in the starting XI. The players on the bench came on and showed why we have them. It's also about how you let the players play, ofcourse in some spells we were brave and bold and we showed quality in creating chances. We created chances to score only one goal.

Of course, at home, we can score more but the good thing is that we know that we can score all the time. So that's why the defence is almost okay. The first goal that we conceded was too simple. Starting from our strikers, we were not organised, in the middle we left a hole that we didn't cover, we didn't protect and a team like Kerala Blasters FC were able to exploit the spaces. We spoke about it in the half-time (talk) that we change, especially in the pressing, we have to be more aggressive and we have to be close to the opponent and it was visible in the second half that we changed some things.

Kerala Blasters FC were putting a lot of crosses in the box in the last few minutes of the game and the team ( Chennaiyin FC) seemed defensive, any words?

In the last 10 minutes, everything was open. A win, draw or loss was possible. This is the drama that I like in football. Today it was a great fight from both teams, both teams want to be in the playoffs. We learn from our tweaks in the past and we don't repeat the same mistakes again and we prevented something like this in a good way, especially in the second half. Today one point feels like a victory.

How good does it feel to finally have all the players fit and have options on the bench?

It's great, every coach likes that. Believe me, it's a tough job, it's not easy to satisfy all players and we have a big squad. Today we decided to use the 20 players, we also have other players who have been with the team, and they were also involved with the team. The players have to understand that if they are in the squad if they are on the pitch you have to deliver and if you don't deliver then you had your chance. In the last 10 games, we had ups and downs, it's starting to be balanced. We know how we have to improve and where we have to improve and let's carry on.

Apart from the goal that you conceded where the team was open. Do you feel there's some area of concern that you need to work on?

I love offensive football and to create chances but on the other side, I ask for better pressing. I know it's a hard job, and which striker likes to play against the ball? We want to get the satisfactory result. The owners, the management, the fans and the coaching staff, we all are a big family and we have to stick together, it's positive. We don't have much time to prepare before our next match against Mumbai City FC, it's a short week, and we need everybody. In all the training sessions everybody can show their performance and prove that they can be a part of the starting eleven.

Any reason why El Khayati came off the bench against Kerala Blasters FC?

No, first of all, we need all the players, foreigners and Indian players. Abdenasser (El Khayati) made the difference totally and if he's fit, he's a starting XI. Unfortunately, he had some health problems and he couldn't start. Yesterday he didn't complete the training session, he trained but not for the whole session. In the span of eight days, he didn't have one strong training session. We want to reward the players for their hard work but of course, they have to deliver. They have to be deserving to be in the first 20 and those players, they deserve to be in the playing XI.

You have been making changes in the playing XI, do you think this creates healthy competition amongst the players or do you think it's better to give some players the mentality that they are in the playing XI nevertheless?

Yes, you have to keep them close. As I said before, we need all the players. I came to India with the desire to develop, be a part and to show my quality as a coach. When you win everything is nice and happy, I'm here in the cases where we have to work hard and it needs a little bit of time. In the beginning, we invested a lot in the infrastructure and in a lot of players who haven't played at the high level before.

We have some players who have pretty good quality to compete with other players and other teams in the Hero ISL but we have other players as well who have played in I-league and to develop them to become a good players in Hero ISL like Jiteshwor (Singh). Nobody counted on them in the beginning but now he's an important player for us. We have good players like (Anirudh) Thapa, (Rahim) Ali, and Narayan (Das) just to name some players. Everybody must understand to work on their mindset and to prove that they belong with the team and the CFC family and then we can move forward.