Bozidar Bandovic – Thapa needs to challenge himself to be even better

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After playing 4 games in the Indian Super League, Bozidar Bandovic’s Chennaiyin FC are the only unbeaten side in the tournament, albeit playing the least matches. However, there is still a long way to go for the Marina Machans as they have scored the least number of goals (4) in the league, despite creating many chances.

Ahead of their match against high-flying Mumbai City FC, Head Coach Bozidar Bandovic and the club’s foreign striker Lucasz Gikiewicz attended the pre-match press conference. Here are the interesting bits from the interaction.

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Bozidar Bandovic

Lucasz started his first game of the tournament against ATK Mohun Bagan and showed sparks of how good he is, using his physicality and pace, although he failed to score. Rahim Ali was benched after operating in the same position for the first 3 games. “I think Lucasz deserved to start. I had thought about fielding him against SC East Bengal as well. He had helped the team every time he come on as a substitute in the previous games.”

We asked Bandovic about how he would like to tackle Mumbai City FC’s intense high pressing.

“We have analyzed them and saw all their games. We have one plan and we will stick to it. They are not just a great pressing side but they move the ball around very quickly and have many technically bright players. I have spoken to players and hopefully, we will perform well on the night.”

Bozidar Bandovic - Thapa needs to challenge himself to be even better
Mumbai City FC have won 4 matches out of 5

Anirudh Thapa was unveiled as the new captain of the side after Rafael Crivellaro sustained an injury, sidelining him for months. Thapa has been exceptional on the pitch and has led the midfield with added responsibility and vigour.

“We are trying to improve him and get the best out of him. Regarding the captaincy, it is very clear to me that he deserves to be captain. This is his team, with his personality, character, and the years he has been here, he needs to be the captain. However, this has nothing to do with his performance because he needs to challenge himself to be even better. I speak with him and tell him that it isn’t enough and he needs to do more.”

Lucasz on how he can help the team and the supply he receives

“I am happy with how we played. We can talk about how I didn’t score, as a forward that is my job. In other ways, it isn’t important for me to always score. No player is bigger than the team and we need to get the three points in every game, we got 1 point against ATKMB.”

Bozidar Bandovic - Thapa needs to challenge himself to be even better f97b18a7 c19c 44be 9774 79b242c435b0
Lucas Gikiewicz made his first start in the ISL against ATK Mohun Bagan

Bozidar Bandovic on the Indian refereeing standard in the league

“I don’t want to judge anybody. We all make mistakes. The referees need to learn from their mistakes, they need to prepare well. They need to see their mistakes after the game, just like any other job. There have been mistakes but I hope they will improve.”

Bozidar Bandovic on how important it is to take their chances against Mumbai City FC.

Mumbai City FC is a good team, but what is most important for us is balance. We need to have a balance between defense and attack. Of course, if we don’t defend well and give them chances, Mumbai will score. We need to have a perfect game in both defense and attack. Mumbai are the champions and we have to respect them but at the same time, we need to think about ourselves and our compactness, pressure, communication, concentration. They are also very dangerous on set pieces, so we need to maintain balance.”

Chennaiyin FC take on table-toppers Mumbai City FC on Wednesday at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda, Goa.

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