The Chennaiyin FC tactician also outlined the importance of healthy competition inside the squad.

Chennaiyin FC played out a tepid 1-1 draw against Southern rivals Kerala Blasters at the Marina Arena in Chennai. The visitors took the lead through Sahal Abdul Samad and went in at half-time with the lead. But the home side stormed back in the second half with Vincy Barretto scoring the equalizer for Thomas Brdaric’s side. Eventually, both teams lacked the threat in the final third and failed to come up with a winner.

As a result, Kerala Blasters embrace their first draw of the season after five successive wins. Meanwhile, Chennaiyin FC drew for the second time this season and continue to remain four points off the sixth and final playoff spot. Chennaiyin FC coach Thomas Brdaric mused about the events post the game with the media. Here’s what he said.

Reaction to the result

Chennaiyin FC have won only one of their five home games this season. Both their draws have also come at home including tonight’s game against Ivan Vukomanovic’s side. Speaking on the result, Brdaric replied, “I’m delighted that we bounced back with a good mentality. Today, we played against a team that won its last five games. I’m proud of the fans, how they support us and the atmosphere (in the stadium) – it was what we needed. Today, a point feels like a victory.”

Journey so far at Chennaiyin FC

Thomas Brdaric has endured a topsy-turvy time as the Chennaiyin FC coach. But the German has made his side offensively more adept than the managers who were there in the previous two seasons. When asked about how he has managed to imprint his philosophy or if he is still in the process, Brdaric said, “It takes time to develop a team. We have players who can make a difference. But I trust the players in the starting XI. The players on the bench as well came on and proved why we have them here. We can score more and we can do better.”

“I like offensive football, to create more chances. But at times, I have to tell my team to be patient and press well in certain moments. But the strikers won’t like it, ask Messi or Ronaldo,” the coach quipped before continuing, “We are a humble team. It is important to know what’s needed for the team.”

Healthy competition in the side

The German also emphasised the importance of healthy competition within the side.

He mused, “Of course, we want it. When I came as a coach to India, I wanted to prove my quality as a coach in the league. It helps us to develop the players who play for CFC to be as good as the other teams. But this will take time. We also have players from the I-League who we need to develop to play in the ISL. We have quality players like (Anirudh) Thapa, Nara (Narayan Das) and others, and I want to make them better to be part of the CFC family.”

Getting the band back together

Brdaric had his whole squad to choose from for the Kerala Blasters game. The head coach expressed delight when addressing his squad’s fitness situation.

“It’s great to have them all back. It was a tough job sacrificing these players (to injuries). But we have a big squad, and the players who start have to deliver on the pitch. If they don’t deliver, then they know they have had their chance. So, we know where we need to improve and what we need to do. So, we just need to carry on,” the German said.

Benching Nasser El Khayati

Thomas Brdaric also clarified on the choice of keeping star player Nasser El Khayati on the bench.

“Today, I saw all the players and took a decision based on the balance of Indian players. Nasser (El Khayati) can make a difference when he is fit. But he had a niggle because of which he didn’t start today. We want to see the players who work hard and deserve their place in the side and that is what I always do with the squad,” the mentor replied before parting for the night.

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