Chennaiyin FC head coach Owen Coyle expressed a strong belief in his team's abilities ahead of their knockout clash against FC Goa in the  Indian Super League (ISL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa on Saturday.

While FC Goa stand second in the list of teams that have conceded the fewest goals so far this season, allowing 21 goals in their 22 matches, Chennaiyin FC sit second in the list of teams that have conceded the most goals so far this season, allowing 36 goals in 22 matches.

On Saturday, the Marina Machans will take on FC Goa to determine who will make their way to the semi-finals of the ongoing ISL season, in pursuit of the ISL Cup.

The head coach is excited about the game and shared his plans on bringing back the players who he had rested for their last league stage game, which was also against FC Goa, where Coyle’s men suffered a 4-1 defeat.

The boys are excited. We're looking forward to the game. As you know, we obviously made eight changes to the list. Here, the boys, we wanted fresh for the game, so everybody's come through training,” stated Coyle at the pre-match press conference.

Coyle acknowledged that his team is perceived as the underdogs for the fixture but maintains faith in his men, believing that at their best, they can pull off a memorable win

He shared, “We know we go there, and a lot of people will perceive that we're big, big underdogs for the game. That's fine. That's no problem. Obviously, we're away from home, that's fine. But already when you go to the Salt Lake Stadium (in Kolkata) and win (against Mohun Bagan SG), you can win anywhere. So if these boys are at their very best, then we know it's a game we can win, but very respectful of the quality that they will have.”

FC Goa haven’t been an easy opponent for Chennaiyin FC this season, considering that the Gaurs stole all six possible points from their league-stage encounters, scoring seven goals and conceding only once in the two matches.

Showing respect towards the opposition, the 57-year-old said, “They're a very good team. Spent an awful lot of money last summer to assemble the squad, both internationally and both with the addition of the domestic players. All really great players, all came from big clubs, international players. So all credit to them.”

“But whatever games we've played this season (against FC Goa) have got nothing to do with anything anymore,” he added.

He continued, “Trust me, these playoff games, these are something that's been in playoffs all over the world, those games count from nothing.”

In their final league match against FC Goa, Coyle rested crucial players like Rafael Crivellaro, Aakash Sangwan, and Debjit Majumder and gave minutes to other players.

Ensuring a return for his starters, the Scot stated, “There's going to be loads of changes again from that team (the team that played against FC Goa last week). The team that plays tomorrow will be unrecognizable from the team that played the other day. So that has no bearing on anything.”

We are here to win the trophy: Ryan Edwards

Defender Ryan Edwards accompanied the head coach to the press conference. The Englishman has helped the Marina Machans register three clean sheets so far this season, succeeding in eight tackles and 97 duels. He has also made 29 blocks, 72 clearances, and 24 interceptions, while also scoring goals on two occasions.

The captain shared an optimistic outlook towards their game, expressing his desire to get their hands on the ISL Cup.

“We're not here now to go home on Saturday. We're here to win a trophy, which I'd imagine will be all six teams’ aim to go and win the trophy, and we're no different,” stated Edwards.

Chennaiyin FC last made it to the playoffs of the ISL back in the 2019-20 season. Since then, in the next three seasons, they've finished eighth on all three occasions. Finally, they broke the curse in the ongoing season, securing a playoff berth.

Addressing this matter, the 30-year-old shared, “It's been well-advertised how important it is to the club. They haven’t made it to the playoffs for however many years it's been. So that's an achievement in itself. But it's only one achievement. It's only a small achievement from where we're trying to get to. And that's well known to everyone.”