The Scotsman warned the other teams in the playoffs of their threat.
Chennaiyin FC overcame all the odds to secure a playoffs spot in the Indian Super League after they defeated rivals, Mumbai City FC at the Mumbai Football Arena on Friday by 0-1. Former Mumbai City captain, Lucian Goian found the back of the net late on into the game, sending his current side into the top four of the competition. Chennaiyin head coach Owen Coyle was glowing in his praise for his team, who were close to the bottom of the table when he took over the reins.
“I think, we were obviously set out to win the game. We have a set way of playing and that is to win matches, so that was our intention from the start. I felt the first 15 minutes, we controlled the game, we looked a real threat. Mumbai to their credit, they got 10 minutes of the game,” said Owen Coyle.
“It’s important to play the game and not the occasion. We always felt in control of the game.”
The second half of the match saw Mumbai City go down to 10 men when Sourav Das was sent off for a malicious tackle on Lallianzuala Chhangte, who was clean through on goal.
“In the second half, when Chhangte is racing through and he looked all set to score, quite malicious (the tackle) and no doubt a clear red card,” continued Owen Coyle.
“They were always going to be dangerous on the counter-attack, they were at home. Whether it is 10 men or 11, it is at 0-0, it could be nervous.”
The breakthrough for the visitors came when Goian found the back of the net against his former club, scoring his first goal for his new employers.
“Lucian, having been here and having been a wonderful servant for Mumbai, it is ironic that it happens in football, he pops up to get the winner. I am delighted with the composure he has shown to bang that in.”
The Scot was gracious in his praise for his opponents, who gave his team a run for their money, in what turned out to be a crucial game in the race for the top four.
“Jorge Costa, a wonderful coach, got some really good players. (They have) got a great spirit, a great organization and a great discipline about them, so they kept going.”
Chennaiyin FC with this victory, became only the second team to keep a clean-sheet at the Mumbai Football Arena.
“It is also nice and satisfying when you get those clean-sheets. A lot of teams don’t get clean-sheets in Mumbai because of their quality in the final third.”
“Over the piece, we were certainly deserving winners and we have certainly earned the right to be in the top four.”
“It is very satisfying for myself, having come into a team that was bottom of the league. Nobody gave us any chance at that point of making it to the playoffs.”
“It shows the incredible run, the football and the quality that we have shown to get here,” Owen Coyle stated.
The head coach also sent out a warning to the teams joining Chennaiyin in the playoffs, saying that his club were there on merit and that they were there to win the title.
“The format of the league now is in a playoffs stage and Chennaiyin have shown that they are former two-time champions for a reason. We know how to win those games and that is what we will look to do.”
Owen Coyle, however, was a little critical of his side and their composure in possession in particular.
“We weren’t as fluid as we have been before. That wasn’t by design. That was because we didn’t take care of the ball.”
“We still have a lot of improvement to come from us. We aren’t the finished article, but they listen, they learn and they look out for each other.”
The coach also hinted at a vastly different side being fielded against NorthEast United, in preparation for the playoffs.
“I think it is fair to say that you will see a much-changed side at NorthEast, which is nice because had it been a draw, we would still have to go there and win.”
The side will now be hoping to get to the final of the Indian Super League, which would be quite a surprise, considering their form in the early part of the campaign.