It has been a good 7 days for Chennaiyin FC. The Marina Machans got back to winning ways after securing a crucial 1-0-win over Jamshedpur FC, and their former striker Nerijus Valskis signed for them from Jamshedpur FC. CFC next face FC Goa who were held to a 2-2 stalemate by Kerala Blasters FC.
Coach Bozidar Bandovic and defender Jerry Lalrinzuala addressed the media ahead of their clash against FC Goa.
On injury concerns and if new man Nerijus Valskis was available for tomorrow, Bozidar said, “Valskis is available. Ariel will skip the game tomorrow. He is feeling much better and we will decide in the next few days if he can be available for the game on 13th”.
The signing of Valskis will come as a refreshment for Chennaiyin FC who have been lacking in goals and have scored a league-low of 9 goals so far this season. On changing the game plan and strategy to accommodate Valskis, the coach said, “No, we do not have to change the strategy. We have 2 strikers, and we have balance. If we need to change the game, we have a backup on the bench as well. We also have Slavko, Koman, and Ariel at the back and Ariel can play both in defense and in midfield depending on what the situation demands”.
The arrival of Valskis will mean that CFC have 3 forwards in Valskis, Lukasz, and Mirlan Murzaev. Bozidar was asked if the presence of 3 forwards alters the balance of the squad and if he was looking to let go of one of them for a defensive foreign player. The coach replied, “We are good for now and we will see if something comes up in the coming days. We also need to think about the future and our domestic players. For instance, I was looking at Vinit Rai for a long time, but Mumbai took him”.
On CFC doing further business in the window, Bozidar said, “We cannot fix issues in one transfer window. We are building a team, and that needs time and patience. We need to not only prepare for this year but also for the coming years. For me, I am working here like I am going to work for another 5 years and that is how I work. I have good contact with the club, and we know exactly what we need to do in the future”.
FC Goa, tomorrow’s opponents for Chennaiyin FC, will feel hard done after their 2-2 draw against Kerala Blasters FC. The arrival of a new coach has not disturbed their playing style and they will look to gain all 3 points against CFC. Bozidar was circumspect about the qualities FC Goa possessed. He said, “They have very good players in the midfield. They want to always move the ball and they possess quality on the ball especially Edu and Noguera. They also have a very good final pass and Ortiz is very dangerous in front of goal. We must be defensively good and tight. We cannot let them move the ball easily hence we need to be close to them and create pressure”.
Jerry Lalrinzuala, though just 23, is one of the most experienced CFC players in the squad. A Chennaiyin FC player since 2016, Jerry is having a fine season in defense for CFC. On his experience of playing with the seasoned duo, Slavko and Narayan, Jerry said, “Our defense is doing good. All our players are playing well and more than that, we are communicating well between us. We will continue to give our 100% throughout the season”.
Debjit Majumder played his first game of the season against Jamshedpur FC and Sajid made his debut for CFC. Coach Bozidar Bandovic was nothing short of impressed by them. He said, “Debjit played a good game which is good for us. He needs to be stable and continue to do the same things he has been doing for us.”
On Sajid, the coach said, “Sajid was on trial and I was impressed by what I saw. I saw his character and I believed he could help the team. He did well against JFC. He needs to do more and continue to work the way he had. I am sure he will do, and I have complete faith in him”.
Bozidar Bandovic was very impressed with the attitude his team showed after 2 losses. He said, “The win gives us confidence, particularly after 2 losses. The players showed character and belief. They showed how mentally strong they are. I want them to be strong, have faith and keep going. Like our slogan All in for Chennaiyin, my players showed that they are all in for Chennaiyin. I am very happy and proud of them.
He added, “It is very important for me that my players fought back from two losses to win the game. For me, mental approach, belief, and not giving up are very important. The players have given me everything and I am so happy to be here, working with them together. They have shown me something special”.
Two-time champions, Chennaiyin FC will look to keep the momentum going, as they lock horns with FC Goa. However, it will be no cakewalk. The coach and the players are wary of the threat FC Goa possesses and it will be a very tight encounter between the two sides.
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