The Men of Steel, are already in the mix for a top-four finish with 31 points from 16 matches. They would leave no stones unturned to make use of the opportunity to bag top honours. Jamshedpur FC are well aware that a win could almost confirm their ticket to the semi-finals while also having the fate of the AFC Champions League spot in their own hands. If they win all remaining matches, they will finish top of the league. The Red Miners would want to build themselves for the long road ahead and be at their best to take home the points and seal the top-four spot. Jamshedpur defeated Chennaiyin by a 4-1 scoreline in their last game. Coyle layed the emphasis on the Indian players in the league and termed it as a great prospect for the future of Indian football.
NorthEast United FC are placed 10th in the points table with a tally of 13 points from 17 matches. The Highlanders finally put an end to their 10-match winless streak and logged three points with a 2-1 win against Bengaluru FC in their previous game. With two matches left, they would be eager to churn out positive results and end the campaign on a positive note and not another disappointment in their forgettable season. They will look to play fear-free football and end the season by giving their fans something to cheer about. Khalid highlighted the importance of handing more exposure to young Indian footballers for their development, as his team prepares for a tough challenge tonight.
Jamshedpur FC head coach Owen Coyle and defender Peter Hartley addressed the media in the pre-match press conference ahead of their game against NorthEast United FC at the Fatorda Stadium in Margao, Goa on Friday. Below are the excerpts from the press conference.
Owen spoke about the team’s approach for the upcoming game against NorthEast United FC.
“We have to approach each game like we always do and focus on one game at a time. We have got a lot of work to do, we’ve done really well until this point but that accounts for nothing. What we have to do now in the remaining games, starting from a very tough game against a very good opponent in NorthEast United FC, is to try and win the game and collect those valuable points which will be our aim on a game-to-game basis. So, we’re only thinking about NorthEast at the moment. We have injury concerns at the moment, but we will look to put a team as fresh as possible to try and win another tough game in the ISL.”
Owen spoke about the surprising element that NorthEast United FC brings in their fixtures.
“NorthEast United FC are a very good team and I think they are being held back by major injuries and players missing from their squad this season. Khalid Jamil has not been able to have the player continuity but when you look back at their full strength, they have the quality, as we saw against Bengaluru the other night. Deshorn Brown scored a wonderful header and then they went on to win the game. So, we know they are dangerous opponents, and they have an incredibly good coach in Khalid Jamil. So, we will be very respectful of our opponents, but we also know that when we are at our absolute best then we can win these tough games and that’s what we have to do. We have to stay focused, concentrated, and be at our very best.”
Coyle spoke on the club’s qualifying chances being a big motivating factor against direct rivals in the upcoming games.
“It’s always nice to hear when people say that we have attained the most wins, scored so many goals, picked up so many points, but the truth is it doesn’t count for anything unless you get something tangible and that is the mission for Jamshedpur FC as a club, who’s never been in those semi-final positions to fight out for the trophy.
“So, we want to try and take away enough points to do that. And the only way to do that is by playing well and winning games as every game is a tough one even though people say that NorthEast aren’t our direct opponents. Every game is so tough in the ISL and that’s why we have to be focused. We have hard work ahead of us, we have to go and pick up those points to seal our place in the top four, and from there, we will push forward higher up the league, but we have to get the points first.”
Owen spoke about the reason that led the Indian players to be more involved in the last 30 minutes of the games lately.
“I think it’s been a process and we worked hard every day as everybody on the training ground puts in their work. It’s not about clicking your fingers or sprinkling fairy dust, it’s about hard work, repetition, and understanding your role and responsibilities in the team. The players are doing well and that gives me tremendous satisfaction and joy when I see the young Indian players. You expect the foreign players to be good players but when you see the young Indian players develop, you take great joy from that because they really have the capacity to improve and honestly, they possess good physical conditions.
“They always seem to have a desire, hunger, and I helped them a little with their game awareness, management, and football IQ along with a change in their technique here and there. Of course, we have very good players and that is the same with other respective clubs with Jamshedpur being one of them. But for the national team as well and Igor Stimac as well whom I speak to quite often. So, that is positive for everybody when I look through all the teams, I see some really nice Indian players get better and improve under the guidance of very good coaches and that is great for everyone in the league.”
Owen spoke on the injury updates of midfielder Jitendra Singh and defender Boris Singh.
“Obviously, we’ll be decimated by the number of injuries in our NorthEast United game and I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. We already have Farukh Choudhary missing the whole season and then Komal Thatal who has missed the majority of the season, who is such a young and exciting player for us. I would be very surprised if Boris and Jitendra Singh are available for Friday’s game. Boris might be back sooner than Jitendra but it won’t be today or tomorrow, that’s for sure. So, those are huge blows to miss those players with Jordan Murray also not up to speed yet and he is not 100% match fit yet but he’s getting better with each day.
“So these 5 starters are probably not available to us and that being said, this brings a wonderful opportunity for the other lads to step up in their place. We saw Mobashir coming into the team in our previous game and he was a regular starter for me last season but was pulled down due to injuries at the start of the season. Now he looks like he’s in a good place, both physically and mentally. So, hopefully, the lads are ready to step in and show that they are a part of what we are at Jamshedpur FC. But it is fair to say that it will not be the same team that we had in the last few games.”
Below are the excerpts of defender Peter Hartley who was also present at the press conference.
Peter spoke about the 4 remaining matches, and how the club will approach the remaining crucial games.
“Same way as we approached the first game of the season. Every game we go into, we win, and nothing’s changed. We put ourselves in a fantastic position right now but the job’s not done yet, so we have to keep going into every game with the same mentality of earning the right to play and win because nothing is given for free, so, yes, that’s what we aim to do.”
Hartley shared his thoughts on facing NorthEast United FC.
“They are a very dangerous team, they’ve got an incredibly good striker in Deshorn Brown. They’ll be like a wounded animal given the season that they had, and there is nothing more dangerous than a wounded animal, so you know, NorthEast United FC are going to be an extremely difficult opponent, so we have to be at our maximum to grab the three points.”
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