“Each piece of football puzzle to be in the right place to get a beautiful picture” – Csaba László’s First CFC Interview

Chennai, August 31, 2020: Chennaiyin FC on Sunday announced that 56-year-old Hungarian Csaba László has joined the club as Head Coach for the upcoming 2020-21 season. With coaching experience in eight countries including two national team jobs, László is raring to go with the two-time Indian Super League champions. He got on the phone with the CFC media team to share his initial thoughts and excitement after signing on the dotted line. Below is the full transcript of the conversation:

1. Congratulations on becoming the new Head Coach of Chennaiyin FC. What are your first thoughts?

I am very excited and I am looking forward to coming to India and working with Chennaiyin FC. It is an honour for me to become the Head Coach of this successful club. CFC is a young club no doubt, but one that is efficiently run and most importantly is a family club. I must say that it is a privilege for me to join CFC on the completion of six glorious years on August 28. A very happy anniversary to everyone associated with Chennaiyin.

2. What made you believe in the CFC project and move to India? Anything you can share from your conversation with club co-owner Vita Dani?

Chennaiyin is a family-like club that chases excellence and has really passionate fans. That attracted me the most to the Chennaiyin project. I have had some great conversations with Mrs. Vita Dani and those in the club management regarding our vision to achieving that excellence and success.

If you see my coaching career, I am a traveller. I have been at many different clubs and teams around the world, and I am very excited about coming to India. Even from afar, I wish to adopt the culture of Chennai and connect with our club’s supporters. The unique nature of the upcoming season makes me want to connect even more closer to the fans.

I am really looking forward to meeting the players and club staff. I am very happy in this moment. I want to fully repay the trust that the club has placed in me.

3. What are your views on Indian football? How much of CFC and the ISL have you been following?

I think Indian football has immense potential. The Indian Super League has been a fantastic platform for Indian footballers to grow and improve further. I have been watching it closely over the years. And Chennaiyin have been an ambitious, driven and professionally run club that has achieved success in a very competitive league. I intend to help Chennaiyin and Indian football improve further through my contribution.

4. What is the brand of football that the fans of Chennaiyin FC can expect from you and your coaching staff?

I want to see my team control the game, control the opponent, control the ball, and be tactically efficient. It is not always possible but this is the style I aspire my team to play in. I want us to play successful football. That is the most important thing. Because as a football coach, first and foremost I want to win games!

We need to have an all-round balanced game, in defence, midfield and attack. If you see modern football today, there is no one system that is completely superior to others.

5. What are your objectives for the season?

To win the Indian Super League title, as simple as that! (laughs).

There will be a lot of opinions from outside – from the fans, experts, journalists etc. On most instances the focus will be on the simple things, or specific aspects like scoring goals, defending, things like that. But for me, football is also like a puzzle. At the end of the game if you want a beautiful picture, you need to work on the small pieces of the picture during the game. Everything in the right place.

I want to see the players take up the responsibility. It is our responsibility. I want to see them bring their creativity and innovation onto the pitch. To bring their heart and soul, and to never give up. We have to work incredibly hard to get what we want. That is also my principle. For me it is also important that the players believe in what we are doing, and to be absolutely invested in the training sessions. And I want to see it reflect in the match. And also play respectfully, of all our opponents. We don’t think of ourselves as favourites in any game, don’t take anything for granted. I want my team not to give 100%, but 500% or 1000% to win the game.

6. You have a great reputation of discovering new talent in what has been an impressive career. What are your expectations and aim specifically with respect to improving Indian talent?

This is very important. I have seen that Chennaiyin has had many talented Indian players over the years. A number of them have featured for the Indian national team at various levels. The club has put in a lot of effort in this direction. It is a significant factor of progress for me, to ensure the Indian players and Indian football continue to improve and grow.

And I would say this is my destiny. Everyone knows cricket is the number one sport in India, but football is maybe the number one sport in the world. We have to help Indian football become greater. India has a huge population that has millions of talents. We have to discover these talents, help them, and show them the right direction. The Indian national team will be a giant in Asia, hopefully in the years to come. And we at the club level need to begin by nurturing our Indian talent. Helping Indian talent come through our ranks and become professional, can change the players’ lives, and bring great pride to their families and the country. We have to carry out focused work with young Indian players.

7. Lastly, a message for the fans?

To our dear fans, I want to tell you this – I am incredibly proud and happy to be your Head Coach. I want to be successful with you all. Even though you won’t be in the stadium, I know you will be supporting us and staying behind us through social media, TV, and all other possible avenues. It is sad that I won’t be able to directly meet all of you, but believe me, with all my heart I say this, together with my coaching staff we will do everything possible to be successful. And that you will be proud of the club once again in the coming season.

I just wish for all of you to stay safe during these difficult times. I am sure if we stay diligent, we can overcome the challenge of COVID. And on the pitch, together, we will take Chennaiyin FC to greater heights.