"We have to improve our game management" – Owen Coyle after Odisha defeat

Bhubaneswar, January 6, 2020: Chennaiyin FC succumbed to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Odisha FC at the Kalinga Stadium here on Monday. In his post-match press conference, Head Coach Owen Coyle rued missed opportunities and a lack of game management that led to the opponents’ goals. Nerijus Valskis missed a first-half penalty, which was followed by two goals by the hosts.

“At 0-0 we had a penalty and an opportunity to go in front. If we were in front, I am convinced we’d have gone on to win the game. But we missed out on a wonderful opportunity.”

The pitch played a crucial role in the match, with players from both sides struggling to dribble, tackle or kick the ball properly with the grass coming off.

“We don’t want to make excuses, Odisha have scored two goals. But for the first goal, the pitch played a part in it because Laldinliana (Renthlei) was asked to clear the ball from the line and he put his foot into the ground and tripped over. That being said, Odisha scored a goal, the second goal it is a wonderful goal from inside the box; that was a good move. Sometimes you have to give credit to the opposition but the second half there was only one team and that was Chennaiyin.”

Speaking further about the pitch, Coyle reiterated his relief on not losing any player to injury.

“What we have to do is eradicate the individual mistakes that we made today but going forward I don’t think that field should be allowed to play football on. There has been a lot of grass coming out, very surprised that were no injuries today but that field is not ready for top level football but it was the same for both teams so that’s not an excuse.”

Coyle stressed on the need to eradicate individual errors and manage the game situations better.

“When you miss a penalty at 0-0 obviously then it can have an effect but I think the game was quite even and in the build-up to the first goal, one of their players was injured. We kicked the ball out and then he was up, turns out he wasn’t injured. And we failed to clear our lines, resulting in their first goal. So there are a lot of things in terms of game management and understanding things that will have to get better.”

Chennaiyin did put in a shift in the second period, creating a number of chances but to no effect.

“Odisha had no chances in the second half, their goalkeeper did make a couple of wonderful saves and there were a couple of penalty claims not given, so from the second half there are a lot of positives.”

The Chennaiyin gaffer has not given up on the objective of qualifying for the playoffs, with eight more league games to go, with a game in hand as well.

“We still have enough games and points to win, we have a game in hand and we have to win when it comes around so what we have to do is find our rhythm and momentum and the moment you do that you start to pick up points. There are a lot of points to play for and we have to make sure the mistakes are cut out and if we are a little more clinical in the top end of the pitch, we will win games.”

“We have put a lot into the game and we are ready to bounce back in the match against Hyderabad in a few days’ time.”