Jamshedpur FC are currently positioned fifth in the league standings with 22 points (six wins and four draws) in 13 matches. In their last game, the side from Jharkhand had faced a 1-0 narrow defeat against Bengaluru FC. The team will be looking to get back to winning ways when they face Kerala Blasters tonight at the GMC Athletic Stadium, Bambolim in Goa.
The Red Miners had come close twice to qualifying in the top four, back in 2017 and 2018 when they finished fifth. Owen Coyle has his sight set on achieving the semi-final dream for the first time in the club’s history in the ISL.
Meanwhile their opponents Kerala Blasters rank second in the points table having collected 23 points from the 13 matches they have played this season. They have had six wins and five draws so far. Ivan Vukomanovic’s side won 2-1 against NorthEast United FC in their last match. A win against Jamshedpur FC will equal their record for most victories in a single season in the ISL league stages.
Jamshedpur FC head coach Owen Coyle and striker Daniel Chima addressed the media in the pre-match press conference ahead of their game against Kerala Blasters tonight. Below are the excerpts.
The upcoming game against Kerala Blasters is a must-win match for both teams. Owen spoke on how the match might be played.
“I think every game now is going to be the proverbial six-point and they call it is only three points for each time, but it’s because you’re playing against a direct rival. Tomorrow is a big game, and we have to make sure that we’re ready for it against a good side. They have a wonderful coach with some very good players and they are a tough team to beat.“
“We’ve already played them in the first half of the season and we drew that game. When we were through the game, we felt on that night we could have won the game. That being said, we have to make sure we are ready. They’ve got good qualities and will be very respectful of that. But equally, we know we have to as well, so we have to make sure we are at our best and if we are, we’re showing that we can win these tough games.“
“For now, we look only into the game against Kerala Blasters and after that, we will think about the next game and we will continue like that. We approach it game by game so presently we are only focusing on Kerala Blasters first and then we’ll go from there.”
Jamshedpur FC are the team with the most number of shots in the league this season. Owen was asked about it and whether he thinks the team could have probably scored more in the first half of the season.
“Yeah, there’s no doubt about that. I think that is one of the things that we do, there are many things we want to improve. But one of the things, of course, is that we need to be clinical. I want to work hard for the club and we look forward to trying to win points and attain enough points to take them where we’ve never been before and that’s one of those semi-final places, to fight for that championship, so that’s what we focus on, and regardless whether we win, lose or draw, we stick together and we get ready to go again, and that’s what we do.”
Gaffer Owen spoke about the team and their philosophy and the reason behind JFC’s good performance this season.
“We are a young group. If you look at our players, we’ve brought and assembled players that never played other teams. So, I’ve taken players from all different clubs that wouldn’t get a game. We brought them to Jamshedpur, and we’re making a team here. So again we’ve done remarkably.”
“We don’t have to spend the biggest amount of money in the league as other clubs do spend huge, vast amounts of money. We concentrate on what we can do and will continue under the radar, and everybody wants to give plaudits to everything. That’s great. We have no problem with that. We’ve got wonderful players at the club with players that want to be.”
Coyle spoke about the way forward for Jamshedpur FC for ensuring a top-four finish.
“Well, the way forward, in simplistic terms, is to gather enough points. The only way you gather enough points is by playing well in each and every game. But it really is the old cliche that taking one game at a time where thoughts are only on Kerala Blasters and nothing else because this game is always shown when you look too far ahead, it comes back to bite you in the backside, so we have to make sure we’re focused, concentrated against Kerala Blasters and do our very best, and if we do that, then we certainly feel that they were capable of winning a very tough game.”
The last match was against Bengaluru FC was an end-to-end affair. Owen shared his thoughts on it.
“Yes, I think it was. I think it was two good teams as it will be again going all out to win the game that is very positive, attacking side as we are. We have more shots than anybody and we’ll carry that threat again. But of course, we have to make sure that we defend very well as Kerala Blasters have done as well. We have a very good defensive record.“
“So yes, I think it’s two very evenly matched teams, too closely matched teams and we have to make sure we come out on the right side of those small margins which we didn’t do that night because we gifted Bengaluru the win. So we have to make sure that we do the attacking side. But equally, we have to defend better against a very good Kerala Blasters side.”
Below are the excerpts of Daniel Chima Chukwu from the press conference.
“It was a big blow for us of course. We created more chances and the goals that Bengaluru scored, to me it seemed more like they didn’t work for it, rather it felt like we gave the goals to them so that was really bad for us.”
Chima spoke about his mindset as a striker when it comes to scoring goals and his thoughts on scoring two consecutive goals since making his debut for Jamshedpur FC.
“It’s all about keeping a winning mindset. It’s about observing the players with the ball and knowing where and when to go at a particular time and with luck, the ball would come there. Being a part of good matches is obviously not a first in my career, but for Jamshedpur, I have scored two back-to-back goals and that’s something I hope I continue doing.”
Chima shared his thoughts on the next opponent, Kerala Blasters. He also spoke about what it will take for the club to finish in those playoff spaces.
“They are a good side and ahead of us at the moment, but at the end of the day it’s football, so we won’t fear them, we’d respect them. We will give our all and hopefully get the desired result. I think dedication is the key. We need to learn from our last mistake because as a team, we have what it takes to come out with something at the end of every game.”
Follow our website for the latest updates on Indian Football.