The tactician also provided an important injury update.

Chennaiyin FC are set to take on Kerala Blasters in the Southern Derby on Monday at the Marina Arena. Kerala Blasters have been in great form and are on a five-match winning streak. On the other hand, Thomas Brdaric’s side come into this game on the back of a 7-3 thumping at Guwahati over NorthEast United.The Chennaiyin FC contingent however, has been inconsistent and has only won one match at home. 

One day prior to the fixture, head coach Thomas Brdaric and midfielder Edwin Sydney Vanspaul addressed the media. Here’s what they said.

How crucial was the win against NEUFC?

Chennaiyin FC earned a comprehensive 7-3 win against NEUFC in their previous game with midfielder Nasser El Khayati scoring a hat-trick.

Brdaric said, “The win against NorthEast gave us a lot of confidence. Also, the win was very crucial but now we are now focusing on the next match against Kerala Blasters.”

Thoughts on KBFC

Kerala Blasters are on a five-match winning streak and their defensive setup is also very well-organised.

The coach iterated, “Kerala is a very good side and is on a winning streak but as I have said before, we never underestimate any of our opponents even if they have good results. We had a special training this week and are also working on how to exploit their weakness. We need to stick to our basics and play with common sense. Kerala Blasters are good in offence and we have made plans for it as well.”

Added pressure?

Kerala Blasters have not won a single match playing at Marina Arena and the last time the two teams played here, Chennaiyin FC won the match comfortably which was also the debut for Owen Coyle as the CFC mentor.

Thomas Brdaric said, “Yes, we are aware of the rivalry but we need to focus on the game and get the basics right. Our fans have been supportive throughout and also know about our game style.”

Challenges going forward 

Chennaiyin FC have been an inconsistent side winning four and losing three games so far. They are yet to win two games on the trot.

Brdaric iterated, “We are building a new CFC team with a new coaching team and new players. Edwin has been with the team for four seasons and has seen quite a few changes in the way the team has operated this season. We need to be patient. We are closely achieving our targets.”

Plan of action if El Khayati fails to perform

Nasser El Khayati has been a revelation for the club having scored seven goals along with registering four assists in just the six games played so far. Also, he has featured in the starting XI only thrice in the aforementioned number of games.

The mentor heaped high praises on El Khayati and said, “Apart from El Khayati, we have 10 players who will be on the pitch and can also score. Yes, he is in good form and we are happy to have a kind player like him in the squad. But we need to play as a team with all the players contributing in both attack and defence.”

Injury Updates

The coach provided a whelming update: “Almost all the players are available for the match tomorrow but we need to wait and see how many minutes they will be able to play. There is a training session in the afternoon. After that, we will decide on the matchday squad.”

Edwin’s say on the Southern Derby

Anirudh Thapa and Edwin Sydney Vanspaul are the only players to continue their tenure at Chennaiyin FC since the last time they played Kerala Blasters at the Marina Arena in the 2019-20 season. 

Edwin said, “We have told the new players about the derby match. They are more excited to play in these matches and want to give their best. These are the games we love to play.”

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