Jamshedpur FC are currently placed at the second spot with 34 points from 17 matches, a win over Hyderabad FC will help them leapfrog to the top position in the league table. The Men of Steel have lost one and won four matches in their last five, and are now enjoying a four-match winning streak. The Red Miners edged past NorthEast United FC by a 3-2 scoreline in their previous match to register their 10th win of the season and are now afoot closer to a top-four finish. The Men of Steel have the perfect opportunity to seal the deal and script their best-ever outing in the ISL.
Hyderabad FC is currently at the pole position with 35 points from 18 points, with 10 wins and five draws. The Manuel Marquez-coached side have won four and lost once in their last five matches this season. Hyderabad FC earned a hard-fought 2-1 win against a rugged Kerala Blasters FC side and confirmed their semi-final qualification, with two matches in hand, a feat never achieved before in the history of the club.
Jamshedpur FC coach Owen Coyle and midfielder Mobashir Rahman addressed the media in the pre-match press conference ahead of their game against Hyderabad FC on Tuesday at the GMC Athletic Stadium, Bambolim. Below are the excerpts of the Gaffer from the media interaction.
Owen spoke on the team’s approach for the crucial upcoming game against Hyderabad FC.
“We are only thinking about facing Hyderabad FC. Like I have said before, we really need to focus on one game at a time because if you look too far ahead then you get punched in the nose in the sport of football. So we are going to be playing fantastic opponents, an outstanding team with great individual talents along a terrific coach.
“So, we know it’s a tough game and a very competitive one as it always is in all the games. But equally, we have to make sure we are fresh and ready to try and win a tough game. There have been many challenges in our way but we don’t complain about it and we have to step up with a smile on our faces to try and win those tough upcoming games like we will have to do against Hyderabad FC.”
Owen spoke on how it feels to be a coach of a team in contention for a top spot in this tight race.
“We are in this position of the league through merit. We have worked ever so hard and where we are at the moment is because of the points we’ve earned to be there. But all this counts for nothing, we’ve got points but we still need one more point to be in the top four spots but equally, we want to push to be as high up the table as we can. How we can do that, is by winning these tough games as every game in the India Super League.
“It is a different challenge for many different reasons and this game presents itself as a really tough game as we’re facing a quality side with good players. But they also know that Jamshedpur FC is a good side by the intensity we play at, the hard work we put in, and the quality that we have. So we have two very positively attack-minded teams trying to win a tough game.”
Owen shared his thoughts on young Indian players in the team.
“As I said before, we always expect the foreign players to deliver very good performances which is the reason they are brought to the club but myself as a coach and my staff take tremendous satisfaction in the performances of the young Indian players who have improved to such a level and the consistency shown in every game through their performances. So, as I mentioned before, I have worked with Dinliana when we were in Chennaiyin FC and I saw something in him using which he has excelled. Ricky as a full-back as well, our young wingers like Ritwik, Boris, Komal, and also Jitendra and Mobashir in the middle of the park.
“Mobashir has stepped in after missing out on the first half of the season due to injury and now he is up to speed. Ishan Pandita comes on and becomes an instant goal threat to the opposition every time he steps up on the field. So, these young Indian lads have excelled and as a coach that’s exactly what you want to see, the Indian players improve and grow. But they do this within the team’s framework which is our strength. Our strength at Jamshedpur FC is as a group, that is why when we do have players missing out on games, we have other lads who are always ready to step in.”
Owen spoke about the squad depth and confidence boost after Len’s goal in the last game.
“It was great to have Len (Doungel) score a goal on a personal level because he is such a great lad with everything he has got and that is the reason why we brought him to the club from FC Goa as he wasn’t getting his required game time. I have seen the qualities he has and Len himself has been carrying an injury for the last six weeks but he has such a big heart and desire to play for the team and is always prepared to say that he is ready to play.
“I know he has been playing through the pain barrier and it’s not a serious injury but he does feel a little pain. But he is such a great lad with a big heart and is an absolute team player. There are a number of lads in our team who have done the same in difficult situations and are always prepared to say that they are ready to give everything they have got which is the kind of team spirit we have got.
Owen spoke about the changes he would make in the team strategy considering Greg’s suspension in the next game.
“We do have options in our team which is a good thing, and it’ll be naive on my end to give away our line-up to the opposition but what we know is that we’ll be very positive. As I said before, Jordan is coming back to his 100% and just needs some more training sessions but he showed his quality and was outstanding in the previous game and we will know when we have a fully fit Jordan Murray on our side because then he’ll be one of the top strikers of the league.
“Daniel Chima has been outstanding ever since he has come into our squad, so it is great to see that. Even in our previous game, we saw the kind of punishment he takes on the pitch and he appealed for a penalty in the first ten minutes of the game when their goalkeeper tackled him from the back. I think Daniel gets unfair treatment because he is such a strong lad who gets hit in the back very often and is also not awarded a lot of fouls after getting challenged from behind. But he has a wonderful character, leads the team well, and takes the ball up the pitch really well. We have Ishan Pandita in the same position as well who can start games and come in to score goals. So, in that terms, we still have big goal threats which is what we’ll look to bring in a very important game.”
Hyderabad FC head coach Manuel Marquez had said that the first half they played against Jamshedpur FC in the reverse fixture was their worst. What do you have to say about that?
“It won’t have any bearing on our upcoming game. Sometimes such instances happen and we’ve had performances like that where we have a good half where we were at our maximum. We did it against Mumbai City FC where we were outstanding in the first half, blooming in our performance but then in the second half they came back in the game and we did not perform as we did in the first half. But we still had the heart, the desire to go and win the game, so whatever happened in the last game will have no bearing on this game.
“We know he is a very clever coach who has shown his work with the players he has and by the quality of his team. I look forward to seeing him, plus he knows that in the duration of the game, both sides will do everything in their power to win a tough game. So, what went down in the previous clash will have no bearing on this game and it is going to be two very exciting and attack-minded teams trying to win a top of the table clash.”
Owen gave an injury update on Jitendra, Boris, and Peter Hartley.
“With Jitendra, I don’t expect him to be playing the next game. Boris did some light work in the training but it’ll be a last-minute decision to have Boris involved in the next game. Peter has not been on the training pitch after coming off injured in the previous game. But he is such a great player who wants to be involved in the games all the time so we have to make sure that there is no damage in terms of the injury which is very important.
“Greg is also suspended and there are also a few others who will be missing. Jordan Murray might play for longer minutes which is good for us but he is still not at his 100% yet, although he is getting better on a daily basis and there are others who have some niggles. So, we have a number of players missing but that has been the case for the whole of the season and we’ll go on with it to get ready for an exciting game against very good opponents.”
Below are the excerpts of midfielder Mobashir Rahman who was also present in the press conference.
Mobashir shared his thoughts on the team’s approach ahead of the next game.
“We have to take it one match at a time. Right now Hyderabad are the top team in the league so we have to give our 100% focus and we have to defeat them. We have put a lot of strength and hard work to reach this position. Obviously, it’s a dream come true for me to be here, but that dream isn’t complete yet. We have to do everything to be at the top of the table to complete it.”
Having scored 3 assists in the last 2 games he was jokingly asked about the secret behind that consistency. Here is what he said;
“There is no secret as such. It’s all about putting in the hard work and focus, plus we have one of the best coaches in the league which makes it even better.”
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