Chennaiyin FC head coach Owen Coyle eyes securing full points against Mumbai City FC in Matchweek 12 of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 at the Mumbai Football Arena on Thursday. 

With only three wins in eleven matches this season, the Marina Machans are desperately clinging to the sixth position on the league table. They hope to exploit the recent dip in the form of the Islanders to secure all three points in their upcoming encounter in Mumbai.

Both teams have faced challenges with constant injuries and suspensions. In a match against Mohun Bagan Super Giant, although Mumbai City FC emerged victorious, they lost four players to suspension, ultimately costing them the subsequent match against Kerala Blasters FC.

Chennaiyin FC will also be without their most effective defender, Ankit Mukherjee, when they face the Islanders, due to injury. Ankit has recorded the highest number of tackles (17) for the Marina Machans, contributing in all eleven games this season.

The head coach is pleased to have Serbian defender Lazar Ćirković back in the squad and believes that the team needs to ensure they get the best from their available players against Mumbai City FC.

“Nobody's had more players missing than Chennaiyin with the injuries we have and that would be the same again. We have another three or four players missing from our team and that's what happens in football. So what you have to do is, the available ones, we have to make sure we get the best from them. So we're great to have Lazar (Ćirković) back because Lazar became unwell on the morning of the Punjab FC game, and then even Ankit was injured after ten minutes, so we were in a bit of disarray defensively. So. But we're looking forward to the game,” stated Coyle in the pre-match press conference.

Stating his expectations from the match, Coyle added, “I think we'll see two very attack-minded teams going all out to win a tough game.”

The Scottish tactician is eager to secure all three points against the Islanders to ensure his team stays in the top six on the league table at the end of the year.

Coyle shared, “Nothing's decided until the last game of the season, but we've taken ourselves into that top six. We want to remain there. The only way to remain there is by going to Mumbai and getting a positive result, and that's what we want to do.”

Ćirković accompanied Coyle to the press conference. While sharing his experience of playing in India for the first time, the Serbian expressed that the league is quite interesting, with a lot of competition.

“First time for me in India. I was, in the beginning, struggling a little bit with my fitness level and with the weather, with the humidity as well, which was the first time for me in the country. But as time went on, I was feeling much better as I am feeling now and so far so good. The experience is good, the league is quite interesting, and everyone can beat everyone. We are here in Chennai, to fight for Chennai and we are trying to improve ourselves and to play the best way we can,” he stated.

Chennaiyin FC, along with Bengaluru FC and Hyderabad FC, has conceded the most goals so far this season (19).

In addressing this issue and expressing a desire to secure clean sheets in the upcoming fixtures, Ćirković shared, “There were some games that we deserved (to keep clean sheets), maybe a little bit more luck, but for me as a defender, it's very important to try to keep clean sheets. And that's something, not for the defenders and the goalkeeper, it's very important for the team.”

He added, “But of course, it's a big thing and we will try to improve ourselves and to have let's say more clean sheets in the future as well.”