Jamshedpur FC are at the pole position in the league table right now, with 37 points from 18 matches, which includes 11 wins and four draws. They have already qualified for the semi-finals and are the frontrunners to win the ISL 2021-22 League Winners’ Shield. Riding the wave of wins, Jamshedpur have won all their previous five matches. The Men of Steel will be guaranteed to win the shield if they remain unbeaten in their next two games, against Odisha FC and by ATK Mohun Bagan.
Odisha FC are placed at the 7th position in the standings with 23 points from 19 games which includes 6 wins and 5 draws. The Juggernauts have only a win to show in the last five matches. Odisha FC have struggled to consistently convert chances in their favour, thus, dropping points with close margins. They will play their final fixture of this season and will aim to finish with a win.
Jamshedpur FC head coach Owen Coyle and striker Jordan Murray addressed the media during the pre-match press conference ahead of their game against Odisha FC at the GMC Athletic Stadium in Bambolim, Goa on Friday. Below are the excerpts of gaffer Owen Coyle from the press conference.
Owen spoke about facing an attack-minded team like Odisha FC.
“This game against Odisha FC is going to be a challenging one for many reasons. Firstly, our intentions and agenda in terms of winning enough points to finish in the top position to lift the shield, which would be a remarkable achievement. To do that, we have to play very well against the dangerous Odisha FC as they showed in their game against ATK Mohun Bagan, who could have easily won the game but pulled out a draw.
“So, we have to be very focused as we know that Odisha have some wonderful talents and attack-minded players which we’ll be very respectful of. But we know if we are at our very best, then we’ve shown that we can win games and that’s what we’ve to do. We have to aim to be positive and try to win 3 points against a very tough team.”
Owen spoke on being short on midfielders in our squad at the moment.
“Yes, we are running short on our midfielders. Jitendra is not quite ready and Mobashir has been suspended because of which we’ll have to move players around a bit. But we’ve done that in numerous games before and we still step up to the pitch without making any drama about it because it is what it is. That is how it is in football, you’ll never have your desired 11 players you want to play every game because it is impossible and this doesn’t happen in football.
“What we have to do as a club and as a Head Coach, is adjust to this shortage and make sure that the ones you have available are ready to give everything they’ve got. That’s what we do at this club. So, we will move along with it and we’ll try to pick the best team available against a very good Odisha side to try to win another tough game.”
Owen spoke about the red card given to Mobashir Rahman in the last game against Hyderabad.
“I do think the red card was a bit harsh on Mobashir which is our first red card of this season because we’ve been so disciplined and focused. I think Mobashir got caught up in the tangle with Akash Mishra and from my angle, Mobashir was trying to push his leg away to try and pull his leg away from the entanglement and did not deliberately kick Mishra. If the official would have taken another interpretation of the situation then he’d have never received the red card. So we felt really harshly treated by the decision and Mobashir will miss the next game, similar to the other games when Greg, Boris, Jitendra, Komal, and Farukh missed out to be in the game. Other teams have games where they have a few players missing, but we have players missing each and every game.
“We don’t make anything of it and we go on with our situation. Even when we came out for the first game after the quarantine period, we hadn’t trained for 14 days with 4 players missing but we got on with it because that is what we do at Jamshedpur FC. We don’t make a song about it and dance on it, we focus on what we can do, we control the aspects that we have under control which is to make sure that the players that are available are ready to give everything they’ve got. So, if you look at the game against Hyderabad FC, we had 5 starters missing, our skipper was only 60% fit. He took a painkiller injection to play as he wanted to be involved in the game with the team. So nobody has had trials and tribulations as this Jamshedpur team has had but we go on with a smile on our faces to try and win games.”
Owen spoke about the possibility of Chima being rested for the upcoming game.
“Daniel Chima has been outstanding for us and that is why we’ve brought him to the club. Even when you think back to the month of January, people had opinions and perceived him differently which is fine to have, but as a Head Coach, I am the one who makes the decisions for the best interest of Jamshedpur FC and I knew I wanted to make some changes to do something different. Daniel Chima was the perfect addition to the squad that I wanted to bring into this football club considering the way we play and how he fits into our style. We bought a wonderful talent who is a real team player, somebody who works his socks off, and all his goals have been a bonus to us because he doesn’t need to only score to contribute to the team and he’s shown the qualities I knew he had.
“As I said before, he’s a champion and has won leagues with Club Molde and has played at a high level while also playing in the top leagues of China. So, he’s a wonderful player and a real team player. On the other hand, Jordan Murray is also outstanding and when he is fully fit then he’ll be one of the best strikers in the league which is what our recruitment was about, we were looking to bring good footballers to the club. Jordan Murray is getting better with every game even though he’s not a 100% fit but he came onto the pitch in our previous game and was outstanding for the time he was subbed in for. But we want to get Jordan to a level where he is able to play 95-96 minutes of the game and he’s still got a bit of work to do but it’s something we’ll look into. But when we have a fully fit Jordan Murray, then he’ll be a wonderful asset for any team in the ISL.
Owen spoke about the hunger and the winning mentality of the Jamshedpur FC fans.
“Well, what this shows us is that the fans have the exact same mentality as the players, the staff, and everybody else involved in this football club. We want to win and want to be the winners. To do that, we have to attain more points and the great thing is that our destiny is in our own hands and we’ve created that by how well we’ve performed together. I have to stress on the part of being together. We’re aware of the backing we’ve had from the fans, the messages are pouring in from our social media team and we get to know how excited and supportive the fans are.
“What we want to do since the first day is to give the fans a team that they can be proud of and want to see us get the job done through. We don’t want to come this far in the league and stop. It’s a great achievement for the club to be in the playoffs for the first time in our history but we want to do better than that and we want to push on to achieve more. The only way we can do that is by being as consistent as we’ve been and delivered quality performances.
“Everybody has been putting their shoulder to the wheel to give everything they can to try and win more games and that starts against Odisha FC. We are looking at Odisha FC now and not any further than that because like I’ve said before when you look too far ahead in football, then you’ll end up getting a punch in the nose. So, we have to concentrate on what’s in front of us at the moment, that’s Odisha FC and try to win the tough game. When we win that, we’ll see where it takes us from there and that’s all we can do at this moment in time.”
Below are the excerpts of striker Jordan Murray who was also present in the media interaction.
Murray spoke on the mentality of the squad post securing their spot in the playoffs.
“Obviously the mentality is very strong right now, plus it was nice to create a club history and make it to the semi-finals. But that’s done now. We are now looking forward to this game against Odisha which is going to be a very difficult game because they are playing for pride now which makes them even more dangerous, so we have to fight and grab the 3 points no matter what.”
Jordan shared his thoughts on Odisha FC as an opponent considering they are out of the playoffs race.
“To be very honest, we are just worried about getting the 3 points, we aren’t thinking about anyone or anything else right now. We have got two games to go and this is the main one that we really want to win. It’s honestly in our hands now because it’s 3 points and nothing else for us from now on.”
Jordan shared his thoughts on the club’s successful performance so far.
“It’s all about teamwork. Being such a close-knit group, you sort of start to understand the player mentality and the type of people they really are. So far, we are training every day so we know what players like and what they don’t like and we use that to our advantage. We are a very attacking team and everyone can see that we have got the quality out at the front and back as well, and obviously in the middle.”
Murray spoke about the bond he shares with Greg Stewart.
“Greg is very good! Obviously, coming in and not knowing him before and then getting to know him is one of those things that you do as a teammate. But now we are very close, we are spending every day together. It helps and hopefully, we’d be able to bring that togetherness onto the pitch as well against Odisha and come out with a win.”
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