We need to keep this squad together: Jamshedpur FC head coach Aidy Boothroyd
Jamshedpur FC head coach Aidy Boothroyd was delighted after his side finished their season with a clinical 2-0 win over Odisha FC in their in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 at the Kalinga Stadium, in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday.
It was an all-important fixture for Odisha FC, with a point enough to put them through to the playoffs. But the Red Miners played their hearts out from the first whistle and deservedly got the lead through Harry Sawyer in the second half. Within a couple of minutes, Ritwik Das doubled the lead, helping Jamshedpur FC pull off an incredible away win. Odisha FC have to now wait for the result between Bengaluru FC and FC Goa on Thursday to know about their fate of making it to the playoffs.
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🗣️Hear what #AidyBoothroyd had to say about his side's upturn in form! 🔴📈#OFCJFC #HeroISL #LetsFootball #OdishaFC #JamshedpurFC pic.twitter.com/Nt0eahoQ4J
Jamshedpur FC came into the fixture without their captain, Eli Sabia, missing out due to suspension. Pronay Halder led the team from the backline and Nikhil Barla, a young full-back was handed his Hero ISL debut. All the tactical changes made by Boothroyd yielded results as they were the dominant side throughout the game. The away team had eight shots on target compared to Odisha FC’s tally of one. Boothroyd appreciated the efforts of the players, who took the field and opined that they had a reasonable squad to build on for the future.
"People talking about the last four games. But for me the last 10 games have been a huge corner, we've returned. You can appreciate the fact that when we've lost our captain, Eli Sabia but Pronay Halder comes in and he is magnificent, like he has played (as center back) all his career and same for young Nikhil Barla, he is 17-year-old and making his Hero ISL debut. It is great for him. A well-deserved debut and Vishal Yadav, (another young goalkeeper) was in the goal," Boothroyd said in the post-match press conference.
"So to be able to call upon younger players, which is what I have done all my career really and bloodied them and stressed them to see whether they handle that. So when you consider that we've not got (Rafael) Crivellaro and we've not got TP Rehenesh, Eli Sabia is not with us. It means that we've got a reasonable squad, a strong squad that we need to keep together," he added.
Jamshedpur FC have been on a good run recently. With this win, the Red Miners have now collected 10 points from the possible 12 points in their recent four games. It is not just the result, but the way Boothroyd's team played in the last two games that inculcated the belief in the team. Jamshedpur FC have been dangerous in attack and controlled the game against their opponents. The Englishman is really excited about the next tournament with this team.
"When you've been any long enough in (football), you sort of know when you're in trouble and when you are not. When you look at the stats for the last three games, we had 70 shots. When you are hitting 70 shots at the opponent’s goal, at some point or other, you are going to score, so thankfully Harry Sawyer scored tonight because he did a lot of unselfish work as did (Daniel) Chukwu. We have got to find a different way of playing that suited us as much as it does at the moment. Overall, I'm really excited about the games coming up. I really don't want the season to end. I want to keep going," he said.
Jamshedpur FC have moved up to ninth in the Hero ISL standings, level on points with East Bengal FC, who have a game in hand. The defending Hero ISL shield winners had a poor season by their standards as the club collected just 19 points from the 20 games with just five wins compared to 13 wins last season. The Red Miners Boothroyd took time to settle under Boothroyd and struggled to maintain their form. The departure place of key players and frequent injuries within the team, too, didn't help them. Boothroyd evaluated the whole season and thanked the supporters and the management for the belief they had in him.
"The first thing you must always say as a coach is that you have to respect the supporters and the people that pay your wages and I have to say, I have an absolutely hundred percent unwavering support. From everybody, from supporters, from staff, from the board, everybody and when you lose as many as we did. It's a disappointment and that will bring in new players in and get players out. That can be as difficult. I think we deserved to get what we got. It's not where we want to be, but it's a good start. And if we create chances and we just have to convert them and we start to keep clean sheets, which is always a good thing," he concluded.