Chennaiyin FC will face Jamshedpur FC on their opening fixture of ISL 2020-21. They will be keen to start the season on a winning note after a brilliant run in the last season with new coach Csaba László and captain Rafael Crivellaro.
The Chennai squad has a few fresh faces and Nerijus Valskis, last season’s joint top scorer, will be undoubtedly missed by the team. Valskis will face his former club along with head coach Owen Coyle who also switched sides from Chennai to Jamshedpur.
It would be interesting to see if Coyle has an upper hand tactically with his knowledge about the opponents.
The new head coach of Chennaiyin FC, Csaba László believes that it won’t affect much that they are a rejuvenated squad with new foreign players forming the core of the team. Speaking in a pre match press conference, the Romanian said,
“Everybody knows everybody. There’s no secret in football. Our team has changed a little bit. Generally, I don’t think it would affect the game too much. It is important to have confidence and take good decisions on and off the pitch.”
This season will also see a new captain for Chennai in Rafael Crivellaro. The attacking midfielder had a stellar outing last season and this time he has been named captain after the departure of Lucian Goian. On whether this new role would affect the style of his play, he said,
“I’m very happy and honoured to be named captain. My style of play will remain unchanged. The most important thing for me is to help my teammates and give assists for the strikers. My target is to finish in the top 4 and I will motivate the guys to give their best for the team.”
Owing to strict safety protocols and very little time to train, Csaba László was asked whether it could be a concern for the team’s preparations. He said,
“It’s not just for me, it’s difficult for everybody. But I see everything positively without complaining. The chemistry between me, the team, the staff and the club is good and that is the most important thing right now.”
Nerijus Valskis and Rafael Crivellaro formed a lethal duo last season and was crucial to their successful season. This year with Valskis having left the club, Crivellaro still feels that Chennai can be as lethal in the attack as they were in the last season. He said,
“Last season was fantastic to everybody in the team, not just for Valskis. Players like Chhangte and Schembri also scored a lot of goals. We have new players now, they are good and I hope we can be even better this time .”
Speaking about the new faces in the forward line, coach László thinks there are abundant options to try and that will help Crivellaro to enhance his game. László said,
“We don’t have just Jakub or Isma, we also have young Indian players like Rahim Ali. Ali is very strong according to me and he will definitely play a key role for Chennaiyin in the future. We also have Fatkhullo whose style of play is good. We have many options and Crivellaro will have his task made easier playing with them.
“Balance and stability in the team will be important. The season is short, and there are a lot of games coming up. So everyone in the team will be important . The attacking minded players will play key roles, but the defence and midfield will support them and that is important to win games.”
Chennaiyin FC will be raring to win the first game with a new look offence and if everything clicks well, they could find themselves very high up in the table .