Jamshedpur FC drew with Hyderabad FC in their last game. After playing three matches this season, the Men of Steel could only win one match while drawing the other two matches. The Red Miners face ATK Mohun Bagan in their next game. The Mariners suffered a 5-1 defeat to Mumbai City FC in their last game, and they will be reluctant to get back to winning ways against Jamshedpur FC.
In his pre-match press conference, Owen Coyle addressed the media before Jamshedpur FC’s game against ATK Mohun Bagan. Below is the full transcript.
In the matches versus SC East Bengal and Hyderabad FC, in a particular half of the match, Jamshedpur FC had a lot of chances to kill the match. Do you think Jamshedpur FC was finding it difficult to close out the game?
“No. I think this is a very tough league, and this is not a team that’s been champions. Jamshedpur FC has never qualified for the playoffs. We have to look to get better, and that’s what we’re looking to do. The three games have all been tough games, as they are in the league against very good opposition. We have to be concentrating on what we’re doing very well, and we have to keep that going.”
As you said, it’s a tough league. Your thoughts on the unpredictability of this league and does it work to the club’s strength?
“Well, the league is very competitive. There are very good teams in the league. And that’s been shown over many years with some big clubs that spend a lot of money, they pay transfer fees and so forth. What you have obviously is that we have to make sure that we are at our best to compete with those teams. We are showing that slowly, but surely we’re building a good team. Everything takes time, of course, but there’s been some very good stuff that’s happened, some real positives. Also, equally, there are other bits that we have to get better at moving forward, and that’s what we can do. But we want to do it together because we’ll always stick together.”
Strangely, despite having such a robust defensive presence, the team is yet to keep a clean sheet, even though they have conceded the second-lowest number of goals. Do you think a clean sheet would have definitely helped against Hyderabad FC and SC East Bengal?
“I think it’s always important that everybody wants to get clean sheets. Of course, and everybody has to score goals. That’s the perfect game. When people look at games, and they analyse it by these factors but we football people understand the game, we know how it works with all due respect, and it’s so easy out there. You need to be clinical, and it’s then you get all these goals and everything else. The truth is, it’s far more difficult than that. If it was easy, then anybody could do it. So we know it’s a tough, tough game. It’s a tough environment, and we have to come out the right side of the margins. So yes, ideally, we’d love to make sure we have a clean sheet. We’d love to score loads of goals. It’s not possible in football because of the quality you play against. So we have to make sure we continue to work out, continue to get better, and we look to move forward.”
Any updates on Jordan Murray’s fitness, and if there are any other injuries in the team?
“Yeah, there have been injuries; Mobashir Rahman has missed the last two games. Also, Jordan Murray missed the last game. Both of them continue to get better. Whether they are certainly ready for the match against ATK Mohun Bagan, that remains to be seen. But they’re certainly moving in the right direction. We’d love to have them all available, but time will tell on that.”
Ishan Pandita hasn’t played much in the first few games. Can we expect him to start in the coming games?
“Well, Ishan Pandita is a valued member of the team. But at the end of the day, for all the strikers, we can’t play them all simultaneously. That’s common sense. So when all said, when the chance arises, as Ishan has shown, he’ll be prepared to come in and take it, and that’s what you have to do. Ultimately, every team will be waiting with 24 players instead of eleven. So you have to pick the best alone for any given game, and we take it from there.”
In the last two games, Greg Stewart has been absolutely phenomenal and he’s the type of player Jamshedpur FC has not seen in the squad since the club began. How big of an impact and how big an advantage does it give you to have a player like him?
“Yeah, when I was looking about how I could improve the team, and I was trying to find that type of a player, I found him. Greg’s a player I’ve known for many years, and I admired him with the different clubs that I have managed. So on his availability and when he was leaving Glasgow Rangers, I did everything in my power to try and bring him to the club, which we’ve done. I still certainly believe that the more we work together, the better we’ll be. Greg’s hungry to do well; he was part of that great Glasgow Rangers team. He never played as many minutes as we would have liked because we can all see the ability, but they’ve got some wonderful players at that football club.
“So Greg’s coming really hungry and with a great work ethic as well because it’s not always about it to work the ball and watch hard for the team. So, of course, he has to maintain that it’s never about one or two games. It’s over the course of the whole League, and that’s what we need to do to make sure that these boys stay fit, stay healthy, and they bring the very best games.”
Coming to the next game versus ATKMB, they took a beating against Mumbai City FC in their last match. Does that defeat give Jamshedpur FC a psychological advantage or an edge over the opposition?
“It gives us absolutely no edge; ATK Mohun Bagan is a team that’s at the top end of the League every year. They narrowly lost to an issue last year, narrowly lost in the final two in the playoff final. It’s a wonderful team with a fantastic coach with great players. They spend a lot in terms of budget. What they spend financially certainly dwarfs all of the other clubs set by ourselves. So we know we’re in for a tough game, and we have to make sure that we’re ready for that challenge. I mean, they’ll be hurting because of the level and the quality they have so that they will be very dangerous opponents at the best of times. Obviously, just even more so because of the fire, the motivation they have to try and get back to winning games they had done in the first two games of the season. So they had won; by their standards, they had only one poor game. But they’ll be looking to bounce back very quickly, and that makes them very dangerous opponents.”
In the previous season, Jamshedpur FC had a brilliant win versus ATK Mohun Bagan, also in the second game, it was a matter of margin by which Jamshedpur lost. Would you be taking the same approach vs ATK this time as well?
“No. Every game is different. What happened last year counts this year for nothing. Somebody asked me the same question about FC Goa. What happened before? Prior to the last week, Jamshedpur FC hadn’t beaten FC Goa in the last eight attempts, but it’s actually no bearing on what was going to happen in the game. That’s the same last season, last season, and last week. What happened last week? It’s this particular game you have to be ready for. We know the quality they have with Krishna and Boumous; these are terrific players; also, there is Manvir Singh, Liston Colaco, and other top talents with wonderful abilities. We have to make sure we are ready to defend with a real purpose. When we get the chance to go and play as we do, make sure that we’re very offensive and we’re very dynamic in our attacks.”
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