Jamshedpur FC head coach Khalid Jamil expects a tough challenge when his team travels to face Punjab FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on Thursday.

The Men of Steel currently sit at the eighth position on the league table but with a win against the Shers would help them climb into the top six of the standings.

Jamshedpur FC have been unbeaten in the ISL so far since Khalid Jamil was appointed head coach in January. In their three fixtures that they played after the resumption of the ISL in January due to the international break, the Men of Steel have recorded two draws and a win, where they came back from behind in spectacular fashion to beat Mumbai City FC.

Explaining how he brought the team to turn around their poor form, Jamil pointed to the collective effort from the players and the people involved with the club.

I just motivate the players. That's it. And whatever result we have got, it's because of the players. They are working very hard. And it is a collective effort from management players and everybody working together,” stated Jamil in the pre-match press conference.

Sharing how the mood in the dressing room, he added, “Everybody is happy. They are eager to perform. They know that they are professionals, they know that they have to perform. And talking about this game, they know that this is also an important game.”

Jamshedpur FC will be facing a Punjab FC team that is riding high on confidence. The Shers have secured back-to-back wins, for the first time this season and have jumped to the ninth spot. Jamil acknowledged the red-hot form that Punjab FC are in right now and doesn’t intend on taking them lightly. 

He said, “They are doing a very good job. Since the last three or four matches they are doing good and especially the last two matches, they have scored six goals in two matches. So no doubt they are a very good team, so we won't take them lightly at all.”

On being asked if he was concerned about how close the competition has become for the playoff positions, the 46-year-old clarified that his focus was only on the next game against Punjab FC. 

“I'm thinking about tomorrow's game (on Thursday). That is the most important game we are playing now. It will be tough, because they are also in good form. So it will not be an easy game. We have to fight to get a positive result,” concluded Jamil.

Forward Javier Siverio will miss the upcoming match to suspension. The Spaniard, who joined the club during the January transfer window, netting his first goal for the club during their 1-1 draw against Bengaluru FC in their previous game. Jamil acknowledged Siverio's absence but said the team has other alternatives. 

“(Javier) Siverio is not there. He will be back for the next game but this game, yes, we'll miss him. But we have other options. We'll see,” he shared.

Jamil and midfielder Imran Khan share quite a history, having worked previously at NorthEast United FC. The 28-year-old had not been able to score any goal in his first nine appearances this season but since Jamil was assigned at the helm, Khan has bagged two goals and as many assists, displaying a significant improvement in his form. 

Praising Khan for his contribution to the team, Jamil said, “When I came, I just told him you have to work hard and think positive. He is a good listener. He listened to everything and he has that experience, since two or three years he is playing (under me). So I just motivate him and he's one of the best player we have. That is good and he must work hard more.”

Khalid Jamil is the best coach in India: Saphaba Singh Telem

Defender Saphaba Singh Telem accompanied the head coach to the press conference. 

The 21-year-old is happy to be a part of Jamshedpur FC's first team and expressed satisfaction of working with Jamil. 

“I'm very happy to be part of this team. And yeah, now I'm getting a chance to be on the bench. And yeah, I'm happy with Khalid coach. Whenever I'm down, he motivates me,” stated Telem.

Expressing his admiration for Jamil, the youngster added, “I think he is the best coach in India. And I'm lucky to play under him and I will try my best to make my debut in the ISL under him. I hope he will help me a lot in the future also.”