We have to be true and clinical, says Owen Coyle
Owen Coyle appreciated his team’s effort on the pitch.
Chennaiyin FC lost 2-0 to Odisha FC at the Kalinga Stadium on Saturday in the ISL 2023-24. Owen Coyle’s side started out on a positive note, withdrawing their wingers and allowing their fullbacks to advance adventurously. Odisha regulated the ball well whenever they had it but the game was end-to-end and on an equal footing. All of that changed with Jerry’s left-footed curler into the far corner at the brink of half-time as Chennaiyin headed into the break one goal down.
After the sides reemerged from the dugouts, the Kalinga Warriors instead looked even stronger with a few more substitutions. The primary change was Roy Krishna giving way to last season’s Golden Boot winner Diego Mauricio. It took the Brazilian only five minutes after coming on in the 58th minute to score. Odisha then only held on till the final whistle to leave with all three points and a clean-sheet. Chennaiyin FC head coach Owen Coyle attended the post-match press conference to share his thoughts about the defeat with the media.
On where the game went out of hand
Odisha FC had some cutthroat chances in the game despite Chennaiyin edging them out on more chances created. The Kalinga Warriors’ squad was filled with experience and as a result they finished those chances whereas the Marina Machans were left sputtering. Summarising that the tactician mentioned:
“Odisha took their chances well. I think they had that one good chance in the first half the boy (Jerry Lalrinzuala) broke through. I don’t recall any other chance of note. We came here and we’ve dominated. In terms of the chances we had, they were some absolute, real gilt-edged chances. And that’s where we need to be clinical.
“So overall Odisha took their two to three chances well; the two goals they had. I mean one of the goals was a pass back and an error from one of our lads. So those are things I want to be pleased about, moving forward. We can come here and perform at our level. To be honest, it’s not the points that our performance deserves, that’s for sure. But it’s Odisha’s night. Good luck to them and after 22 games we’re gonna see where they’ll be.”
Learning from the game
Chennaiyin FC are struggling with players who’ve joined only recently and have had minimal time training with the game. However, on the field they looked like a well-gelled unit and generated quite a few chances. Praising them, Owen Coyle noted:
“Yeah, we’ll learn from it as an example. You can’t gift goals. I mean the first one is nothing to concede – not a very powerful shot but ends up in the corner for some reason. But one knows that we dominated chance after chance. I mean we could still be at 0-0 with the chances we had upfront. (We had a) Great move down the left and if Connor (Shields) would’ve gotten a clean head to it then it would’ve been a clear goal. Again there was Rafa (Crivellaro) with a great chance. So there was no doubt we played really really well. And then at the stroke of half-time, in the 45th or 46th minute, we gave away a soft goal.
“That being said, in the second half, there were quite a few options in the game. There was no doubt that at 1-0 down there was only a little time before someone fired home. And then we made that terrible error when our lad passed the ball to (Diego) Mauricio who went one-on-one with the goalkeeper. He’s a top player so what you don’t wanna do is gift and that’s what we did – gift the game with the second goal. But we kept going with the chances in the game after that. And it was good to get Lazar (Cirkovic) after he joined only four days ago. Never a problem with him and then Ryan (Edwards) coming in and did very well. We could easily have scored because our set-pieces were taken well so that was good.
“So we’re getting those minutes and building our squad. Like I said, the more we play the better we get to be. But the evidence for that was available today and we already looked like a very good team. We just have to be true and clinical. But in terms of the goal chances we had, they were far more than Odisha’s.”
On any player that was the highlight
Owen Coyle was asked if he thought of any player who stood out for the match. But the head coach chose to stay neutral and appreciated all the players for staying united to combat the adverse weather. He concluded:
“Yeah, all the players. I gotta say, I applaud both sets of players for stopping the game due to the weather and then coming back out and playing the game. I’ll appreciate both of the teams because with the lightning and everything, the level at which we played. But we have to improve on our shortcomings- with those mistakes that we gave away, we need to get better. We need to make sure we aren’t caught out and are clinical with the chances. If we do that, I’m sure we can win all our games.”