Jamshedpur FC have already clinched the League Winners’ Shield and are eyeing a double by winning the ISL championship as well. A narrow deficit won’t be too big a factor given the quality of players they have at their disposal. After their inflicting 1-0 loss to the Blasters in the first leg that dealt a blow to their winning streak, Coyle is hopeful of his team to come out on the pitch with a positive-minded approach and make it to the finals and is unruffled by their opponent’s first-leg advantage.
On the other hand, Kerala Blasters FC cannot be content with the one-goal lead, they need to push for extending the lead and rest any chances of a resurgence from Jamshedpur FC. The Blasters have won three, lost once, and drawn the remaining of their last five matches this season. Their win over Jamshedpur FC in the first leg will definitely give them a psychological edge going into the game, as they aim to qualify for the final after a gap of six years.
Jamshedpur FC head coach Owen Coyle and striker Daniel Chima addressed the media during the pre-match press conference ahead of their semi-final second leg clash against Kerala Blasters on Tuesday at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco, Goa. Below are the excerpts from the media interaction.
Owen spoke on the first leg, defeat led to changes in the approach for the second leg.
“We won’t be changing our approach because everyone that watches us play knows that we approach every game with the winning mentality and we have to win this match if we wish to progress to the finals which will require us to score goals. So, in terms of the approach, similar to our final game that we played against ATK Mohun Bagan and we knew that even a small margin loss or win would end in us becoming the champions and the best team in the country but we still approached the game with the intention of winning.
“So, our approach will not change and we’re very respectful of our opponents who are a wonderful team but equally we know that if we’re at our best then it’s a game that we can win. We’re looking forward to the game as it is an opportunity for a quick turnaround from the first game in which we were hurt as the loss broke down our winning streak which earned us the league shield making us the best team in the country. Now we want to make it to the finals to do that. As I’ve said we have to play very well to overcome the 1-0 deficit.”
Owen spoke on the strategy to overcome the multiple injuries that the team has suffered.
“Ultimately, we can only play the players that are fit and available to play the game, particularly the challenge we have with Len missing the game because there’s another wide player coming in the back with Boris, Komal, and Farukh missing from the squad. So, we’re decimated in the wide areas and everybody knows we love to play wide with our wingers which makes us an exciting team to watch as we get the wingers forward, taking full-backs on and being exciting. So, ultimately this strategy will be tough as Boris will mostly make it to the starting XI. Len is a huge doubt and I’d be surprised if he’s fit to play the game.
“So we have to look at the problem we have and find a solution but this won’t change anything in terms of approaching the game to win it. We have to win as we always want to do, so we will pick a very positively attack-minded team and we need to concentrate on the ones we do have available to play. So, it’s a blow to have those players missing but that’s an aspect of football. Sometimes there might be players missing due to injuries, suspensions, and other different things but we have to carry forward with everything we’ve got with a smile on our faces to go and win a really tough game.”
Owen spoke on the probability of seeing Mobashir and Sandip Mandi playing in the wings in the next game.
“With the number of injured players we’ve got, everything is a possibility. Mobashir played in the wing multiple times in our last season and did very well, so there’s always an option to play him in that position. He had a wonderful chance to score from that position in the previous game when Greg passed it to him through a freekick. So Sandip Mandi, Mobashir, and the other lads will all step up when needed and with all said and done, we’ll put on a very positive team on the pitch for the game. It’ll be naive of me to give away these strategies before we play the next leg against Kerala Blasters but I assure you it’ll be a positive team who’ll look to win the game.”
Owen spoke on the possibility of rotation in the center-back positions to add in an extra player in the front.
“Everything is up for grabs in the next game. As I said before, it’ll be really silly for me to give away what our team is going to be before the game. The bottom line is we’ll pick the best team available to win the game and this time had won 10 games out of 11 prior to the last game, so there isn’t anything wrong in how we do things at Jamshedpur FC. In terms of changing up things, we don’t really need to do that, we just have to find the right solution for the right positions.”
Owen spoke on Kerala Blasters gaffer having a good record in crucial games in his past clubs.
“Well, I think it’s a brilliant record but as these things go, people think a lot about what happened 5 or 10 years ago or even last year when teams competed against each other but I assure you that what happened in our previous game counts for nothing. It’s on the given night of the match that if your players are at their very best and if we are the best, then we can win the game against a very good Kerala side and they’ll feel the same way that we did. So what happened before counts for nothing as it will be two very positive attack-minded teams going all out against each other to win the game. Kerala Blasters know they have the comfort of drawing the game and progressing to the finals but for us, there’s only one way and that is to win the game. So our mindset and focus will be on winning the game which is what we’ll try to do tomorrow.”
Owen shed light on the injury update of Dinliana’s shoulder injury situation.
“Dinliana is currently troubled by the shoulder injury that he picked up a few weeks ago which is very unfortunate timing for us because he’s been called up to the national camp later on and he’s been outstanding for me. He wasn’t even in the team when I came to Chennaiyin FC but I brought him into the squad and we’ve been on this terrific journey together and later came to Jamshedpur FC together. He’s continued to improve and get better who is still such a very young lad. I am so pleased with him and even while being injured he wants to continue playing which shows he has such a big heart, tremendous character but equally I have to do the right thing by Dinliana and the team.
“Obviously, we’ll give him time till the last minute to decide. But even Laldinpuia did very well in the right-back and the center-back positions. He’s shown every time that he’s such a wonderful young lad who has been part of the team the whole season even though he might have not played a lot of games but he’s always in the back of my mind and he even has progressed a lot in the training. Every day in training we see him improve and he’s a bit like Ritwik as even he has improved so much in such a short time which showed me that they’re ready to play. If Dinliana doesn’t make it to the line-up, then Laldinpuia has shown that he’s capable of stepping up in those positions and rep the Jamshedpur kit with pride.”
On the thrilling race for the ‘Golden Glove Award’ between the two shot-stoppers
“TP Rehenesh and Prabhsukhan Gill are two fantastic goalkeepers and it goes without saying that their teams are on the spot that they currently are on because even though the strikers play an important role on one end, the goalkeepers play an even more significant role on the other end of the pitch. Gill has been terrific ever since he has come into their squad, so all credit to him.
“As I have said before, Rehenesh has been outstanding for me in the 2 years he has been with me, and hopefully there are many more years of such brilliance to come. But again, in the next game, both of these goalkeepers have a big role to play in the game. For me, my focus is on TP Rehenesh as I want to try to get him to his best because if he is, then, of course, we have a wonderful opportunity to be in the finals.”
Below are the excerpts of Nigerian striker Damiel Chima Chukwu from the press conference.
On the mindset, while approaching the 2nd leg of the Semis
“I think the first thing to do is to recover from the loss. As a squad, this is the time for us to not relent and get back to our winning form and give the fans something to celebrate about.”
Thoughts on creating chances for the team and helping them reach the finals
“First of all, I think every striker in the world wants to get the ball behind the net. The fact that I couldn’t score in the last game despite the chances, makes me even more hungry to make up for the last loss and create and utilize more such opportunities.”
Thoughts on the fighting spirit shown by the team and that being a motivating factor
“We need each other to help us push and do better. In the last game, we had our chances, we tried to make the most of the given opportunities. But now it’s time to restructure ourselves and get that winning spirit back again.”
Thoughts on having Owen Coyle as the coach being a strong motivating factor
“What I can say is that if we give our all and fight, we will come out victorious out of this game for sure. And we will do everything to give more of ourselves than we did in the last game.”
Thoughts on a tough opponent like Kerala Blasters
“They are a good team with good players but for me, I believe we are better. I know Kerala will do everything in their power to defend themselves but we know what we have to do and we will push hard to secure that win.”
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