The Marina Machans will be looking for their third title in the ISL on Saturday night.
ATK FC take on Chennaiyin FC in the final of the sixth edition of Indian Super League at Fatorda Stadium in Goa on Saturday. In the short history of the league, both the teams have tasted success twice and will be looking to grab their third ISL title. However, the game is set to be played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus outbreak in the country. Before the grand finale, Chennaiyin‘s head coach Owen Coyle and captain Lucian Goian attended the press conference and addressed the media.
The former Burnley manager started the presser by giving his thoughts on the season and the ISL final. He said, “First and foremost, we as a group have worked hard to reach the final and we are not here by accident, we are here because we’ve earned it.”
“When I came here, we were in a difficult situation, we had to win every week because teams like Mumbai and Odisha were winning games and also FC Goa, ATK and Bengaluru FC were the top three. They had set the bar and everybody else was trying to grab the fourth spot. But, the team deserves credit to win key games and have a mentality to adjust to the situations. We kept the disappointment of the NorthEast game behind and started focusing on the next game.”
Mentality ahead of the final
“The mentality doesn’t change even when we reached the playoffs. We were under pressure against FC Goa and everybody thought that they could win it because they were the #1 team for a reason. But, since January, we’ve enumerated the most points than anybody else in the league. We knew we could win the game. We respected them, but we never feared them and tomorrow we go with the same attitude. We are under pressure because we want to be champions because we’ve worked hard and we have got desire. The players are hungry for success and ATK will also be trying to win the game,” Owen Coyle quoted.
Team atmosphere after Owen Coyle took over
The Chennai-based outfit had a difficult campaign last season. Yet, they decided to retain their then head coach John Gregory for another season, but things didn’t change and John Gregory left the club. Owen Coyle came as his replacement and since then, the Marina Machans managed to do the unthinkable and reach the final.
Lucian Goian discussed the Englishman’s influence as he went on to say, “When he came, he changed the way of training and also changed our attitude to training. I’ve seen in football that the way you train is the way you play. He gave confidence to some young players who were down at the start of the season and some positive results at the beginning contributed to the confidence.”
“We became a much stronger group because we started to know each other well. At the start of the season, we were 25 new players and we didn’t know each other. We didn’t know our characters, we didn’t know when to make ourselves better and make connections between us. In the second part of the season, we showed we are a very strong group and we deserved to be here,” he added.
Lucian Goian signed up for the Marina Machans in the summer from Mumbai City on a free transfer and he shared his thoughts about the transfer, “I knew what happened last year with them and I thought that they will learn from their mistakes. The team were the two-time champions and it was a different challenge for me. Now, I look back to it and think I have made a wonderful choice.”
Third ISL final in six years
Chennaiyin FC are playing their third Indian Super League final in six years and club captain Goian said it was the perfect opportunity to be part of the club’s history. “I told the boys that tomorrow we are going to be part of the history of this club. If we move out nobody will remember us next year, but if we win the game and win the final then people will remember us after 10 years. Some players will win the third title with the club and they will be part of the photos of the club.”
Coaching in English Championships and ISL
Owen Coyle has prior experience of coaching in the final with English Championship side Burnley, when they won promotion to the Premier League. He was asked about the difference in coaching in India and England. “Coaching in ISL is simple in many ways. We have fantastic a group of players, I remember we played 61 games that season and we had a financial embargo too. There are many similarities between the Championship and the ISL.”
Neither of the teams have reported any additional injuries over the last few weeks, meaning that they’re both likely to be at full strength for the final.
While the side from Kolkata currently edge the Marina Machans in terms of head-to-head, it’s interesting to note that both the league fixtures between the sides this season ended in away wins.
Kaith, Renthelei, Sabía, Goian, Jerry, Vanspaul, Thapa, Chhangte, Crivellaro, Schembri, Valskis.
The final of the Indian Super League can be viewed on Star Sports 2 and Star Sports 2 HD. It’s also available for viewing on Hotstar and Jio TV on other streaming platforms.