Chennai, February 9, 2020: Chennaiyin FC Head Coach Owen Coyle was in a determined mood as he addressed the media ahead of the crunch clash with Bengaluru FC in the Hero Indian Super League at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Sunday.
With CFC chasing a fifth consecutive win in pursuit of a top-four spot and BFC looking to catch up with ATK and FC Goa at the summit, it promises to be a high-octane encounter with both teams willing to put everything on the line.
“It’s going to be a really good football match. They (Bengaluru FC) have to come and try to win for their own aspirations. But we have to ensure we come out on the right side of those margins. We have to carry on to our standards. If we win our games, we have a chance to secure a place in the top four, which I have to say when we came in seemed very far away,” Coyle said at the presser.
The CFC gaffer paid BFC respect but clarified there is absolutely no fear of their opponents within his ranks.
“They (BFC) are champions for a reason. But we do not fear them. We can score goals, win games. They’ve been very good since they’ve come into the league, winning the ISL once. But Chennaiyin have been very good since the outset of the league. We’re two times champions along with ATK. So that’s the two teams that are top of the pile for winning titles. They have a good coach, they’ve spent a lot of money and have good players. But equally, we have good players and we’re a good team. We believe we have a good coach and are ready to win the game,” Coyle said while weighing up both teams against each other.
Speaking about the type of match he expects given the attacking prowess of CFC pitted against BFC’s defensive resilience, Coyle said, “They are a strong and physical team, very organized. And they are a threat. They have the best defensive record in the league for a reason. So we have to make sure we test them. Every game in the ISL presents different challenges.”
Coyle’s Chennaiyin have won four in a row and scored 15 goals in those games, with a 6-3 thumping of Kerala Blasters last time out. The former Burnley manager though is not resting on his laurels. “As well as we’ve done till this point, we have to make sure we continue that in the remaining games. And that’s why we’re in football, to play the best teams and best players. And the game against BFC affords us that opportunity,” Coyle added.
With Anirudh Thapa suspended for this game, Coyle revealed that Germanpreet Singh could be a doubt with injury. Coyle’s other vital cog in midfield since the 2-0 win over NorthEast United FC last month has been versatile star Edwin Vanspaul, who was alongside him at the presser. The gaffer was full of praise for Edwin’s seamless transition into the midfield role.
“I see Edwin as a very talented and wonderful player, firstly. Is Edwin capable of playing in a number of positions? Yes!”
“Edwin has that footballing intelligence along with his natural talent. He has a very good footballing brain and understands things very quickly. So along with all his other attributes and qualities, that footballing intelligence makes a difference,” Coyle opined about his No. 8.
Edwin was coy about the praise being showered on him, but thanked Coyle for his faith in him.
“I’m playing in the midfield position after a long time. And the credit for that goes to the coach. His words have given me more strength to play in that position. Even if I miss a pass, he encourages me from the outside. That motivates me to keep playing better.”
The encounter with BFC will also be CFC’s 50th home game at the Marina Arena, and Edwin wishes to make it a memorable affair for the fans.
“This is our last match at home (in the league stages), so we want to make it memorable for the fans and all the people that support us. 50th game at home in the league and against a rival team. Winning against BFC will be a happy moment,” he shared.