Chennaiyin needs this important victory over Odisha FC to be in contention for playoffs.

Chennaiyin FC locks horns with Odisha FC in an all-important Hero Indian Super League 2022-23 fixture at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Thursday. Currently placed eighth on the points table with 17 points from 15 games, Chennaiyin will require to make the most of their remaining five matches in order to stay in contention for the playoffs. The pre-match press conference was attended by head coach Thomas Brdaric and midfielder Julius Duker.

How important is it to keep players motivated with a lesser chance of qualifying for the playoffs?

Chennaiyin FC is on a six-match winless streak and will now need to win the next five matches to stay in the hunt for the playoff qualifications.

The head coach said, “The players are always motivated and this is a good mentality. We showed good signs against Bengaluru in patches but played poorly in the first half. The players need to understand to play according to the plan and strategy which shall be followed. This will also be our approach for the next game against Odisha FC.”

Have the foreign players taken their positions for granted after injuries to Karikari and El Khayati?

Chennaiyin FC is one of the few teams to have suffered a lot from injuries. Kwame Karikari and Nasser El Khayati showed great skills in the initial stages but suffered a lot from injuries. Apart from foreign players, Indian players like Anirudh Thapa and emerging star Jiteshwor Singh too have been injured frequently.

47-year-old opined, “The results don’t depend on the foreign players but rather depend on how they play on the field. We have conceded too many goals but are trying to reduce the deficit as well. Both foreign centre-backs played well against Bengaluru FC in the last match and they weren’t the reason for conceding goals. Mistakes happen in football and we cannot pinpoint any player for the mistake rather need to correct those and progress.”

With five games left will the team persist with two foreign centre backs as the side played well against Bengaluru with one Indian and foreign centre back 

The injuries haven’t helped the head coach play with a stable combination. Most of the ISL teams that have had success play with one Indian and one foreign player in the centre-back position which allows teams to have an extra foreigner in the attack to score goals. 

The coach iterated, “I like attacking football and will like to take risks. The team composition needs to be clear and injuries haven’t helped the cause. Kwame Karikari after a few good games couldn’t start in the playing XI and then could only play five to ten minutes. El Khayati on the other hand too cannot play the whole 90 minutes and has to maintain fitness.”

Injury Updates

“We have everybody fit. Nasser can play an important role tomorrow, and I am happy that he can start.”

Thoughts on Odisha FC’s attack

Odisha FC has good attacking players: Diego Mauricio and Nandakumar Sekar along with Jerry have been playing good football. Nandakuamr scored the winning goal against Chennaiyin FC in their previous meeting. 

The German coach said, “In the last match, ATK [Mohun Bagan] showed pretty good pressing; they didn’t allow Odisha to create chances. It’ll be the same approach tomorrow with high-intensity pressing to reduce room for Odisha to exploit. I hope we implement that very well.”

Is captaincy affecting Anirudh Thapa’s performance

Anirudh Thapa for the first time has failed to score a goal or provide an assist in ISL. Like other players, Thapa too has had injury concerns but the has not played to the best of his abilities in ISL 9.

Thomas Brdaric iterated, “Thapa is a great talent and sometimes he needs to get his basics right and play to the position. In a few matches, he goes a bit forward from his normal position. He has the tendency to play in several positions as well.”

For more updates, follow Khel Now on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and join our community on Telegram.