ANI Photo | “The harder we work, things will continue to improve,” says Chennaiyin FC coach ahead of Kerala Blasters clash

Chennaiyin FC head coach Owen Coyle wants his team to work harder to enhance their performance as they face Kerala Blasters FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Wednesday in their next Indian Super League (ISL) match. He said that they need to “bring it all together” in terms of their defence and attacking line-ups.
The Marina Machans have so far got seven points in seven games while facing four defeats and are placed seventh on the points table.
Overcoming the unavailability of some of their key players, Chennaiyin FC created numerous goalscoring chances in their last match by utilizing the width of the pitch with their young Indian forwards. With the absence of their two forwards, Connor Shields and Rahim Ali, they managed to seal a point against East Bengal FC with a late equaliser in the 86th minute.
Coyle is also super excited about playing in Kerala. His men too will be eager to secure a win over Kerala Blasters FC, against whom they have not won in their last five meetings.
“What we want to do is bring it all together, both defensively and in the attacking sense. But we knew the longer and harder we work together, things will continue to improve,” Coyle stated in the pre-match press conference as per an ISL press release.
“We know that for sure. And that is the step we need to take. I think Kerala has shown that over the course of its results. For three seasons, Ivan (Vukomanovic) has been there. Yeah, he has really shown that. We know anyway that with the fan base they have, their interaction, and social media, everything else is about how big a club they are. And they will be desperate because obviously, as they are, big clubs obviously want to win prizes, and every year they obviously want to compete, which is great,” he continued.
“We know that feeling of winning prizes. That is what we want to get back to. So that is why our journey, as we start to take it, is exciting because we know we can build something. So, a great game to look forward to, and I am absolutely excited. I certainly hope the players are as excited as me about the game,” he added.
Jordan Murray, who had a collision on his head in their last match, is recovering well, according to Coyle. He also mentioned that Rahim Ali, who also missed the game due to injury, joined the training and is hopeful to be in the squad for the upcoming match.
“I think ideally, we would love to go to Kerala with our full squad available,” he said.
“You would love to have your Aakash (Sangwan), using (him in) your corners. I mean, he is a big player that we play, and I would suggest to anybody in the league, wonderful players. But as I said before, we have to concern ourselves with the ones we do have. So hopefully, as I say about Jordan (Murray), because ultimately that decision coming to Jordan, I need to know how he is feeling, and I will give him that. He knows his own body. But the great thing was he knew everything was clear — all the scans, everything was clear. Obviously, he did have a collision. That being said, he looked much better yesterday; he is looking even better today,” he explained.
“So, all being well, Rahim (Ali) trained and trained well, which is great. And, yeah, we just have to show the boys at play that they can be improving,” he added.
Barretto, who previously played for Kerala Blasters FC, accompanied his head coach in the press conference. Barretto is having a great season under Coyle, which is helping him improve as a forward. The Goa-born player shared his thoughts on how his coach, being a striker in his playing time, motivates them to perform well in the opposition third.
“Coach always motivates us, and he always tells us how to press, and we always train in training, and that’s it. We try to do it in the match,” Barretto said.
Coyle shared his enthusiasm about Kerala and their army of passionate supporters. He expressed his desire to come back to his playing days to get a chance to play in Kerala.
“I think one game that I absolutely love — the stadium, the atmosphere, the playing surface — if I took myself back to being a player, that is the kind of game you want to play,” he stated.
“Obviously, Kerala Blasters FC is doing fantastic; all credit to them, and (they have) a very good coach and (he is) a good man. And what they have shown is that they have had that consistency in respecting the same coach, building a team, and building an infrastructure at the club. And Karolis (Skinkys) is there as well, the sporting director, a very clever man, a good football man. So they’ve certainly put, I think, a terrific plan in place for the club,” Coyle concluded.

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