We are wary of Kerala Blasters FC’s quality: Jamshedpur FC’s Owen Coyle

Jamshedpur FC head coach Owen Coyle has expressed caution given the quality Kerala Blasters FC have in their ranks as both teams prepare for their semi-final first leg clash in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 at the PJN Stadium in Margao, Goa on Friday.

The Men of Steel have already claimed the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 League Winners Shield after a 1-0 win over ATK Mohun Bagan in the previous game. They are currently on a seven-match winning streak in the build-up to the double-legged semi-finals.

Coyle addressed the pre-match press conference ahead of Friday’s game.

Here are the excerpts from the press conference:

In the last match we saw a tactical change in the first half, when you took off Boris Singh and introduced Len (Seiminlen Doungel). What was your thought process behind that?

Yeah, well, we wanted to freshen up the team before getting into a big game. I mean, we've been asked to play an extraordinary amount of games in such a short space of time. I think we've played six games and something in 17 days. And then the last three games in six days and every game was a high-pressure situation.

Yes, we want to freshen up, look to go and bring all the energy we've had with the number of injuries, Peter Hartley was rested a game before (the ATK Mohun Bagan game). Peter came back and Greg was already there after he missed a game before when he was suspended.

We just tried to get some freshness into the team. Boris Singh was desperate to play as well as Jitendra (Singh). Boris felt a little niggle, I didn't want to take any chances and Len’s been playing anyway, so thought of bringing Len instead of Boris.

Jamshedpur FC have played against Kerala Blasters FC two times in the league stage and twice in the pre-season and have been unbeaten so far. Despite the record, how much of a challenge are the Blasters going to pose in the semi-final?

Kerala Blasters FC is a huge challenge. I think that the quality of the teams in the league is there for everyone to see, and the top four teams have finished at the place as it should, we've been the best team in the country all year. It was determined with the points we have, by the run we have been on. But when you come into a cup competition, anything can happen on any given day. So we're very wary of the quality of the opponents and Kerala Blasters FC are a fantastic team.

We’ve played them twice in a season, we played them twice in the pre-season. I got to know Ivan (Vukomanovic) really well. And I've got a great relationship with him, he is a wonderful coach and he's an outstanding man off the field as well. So I know this is going to be two really tough games and then all they know as well, because they know the quality of Jamshedpur FC.

Jamshedpur FC are into the semi-finals for the first time in the Hero ISL. Any message to the fans who have heavily backed the players throughout the season?

To our fans, hopefully you’ve enjoyed what you’ve seen this season so far and there’s more to come. But everyone here is delighted to deliver the league shield and we were able to show that we’re the best team in India at the highest level. Obviously, with that comes other opportunities like the AFC Champions League and more possibilities to come. What we want to do is get the fans the double on the trophy and we’ve to play ever so well again because we’re going against very good opponents.

But we thank you for the unstinting and unwavering support you’ve given us and we get to know about your love through the social media team which shows us how much love and support you have to offer to us from Jamshedpur and the state of Jharkhand. I said in the outset of the season that we wanted to give the fans a team that represents the fans and hopefully you are seeing that with the amount of quality, excitement and hard work we bring to the table because we are such an exciting team who score goals and work so hard.

So, hopefully you’re enjoying what you’re seeing and we’ll try our best to take it to the next level but again to do that we’ve to keep winning and we’ll do our very best. So, thank you for your support and it is very much appreciated and let’s keep this momentum going.

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