The Scotsman is wary of the threat posed by the Gaurs and insists his team will not take them lightly.
Chennaiyin FC are aiming to get the job done when they travel to the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Goa to take on FC Goa. Owen Coyle and Co. head in with a comfortable 4-1 lead from the first leg and will look to defend it to make it to their third Indian Super League (ISL) final on 14th March.
On The Three-Goal Advantage
Owen Coyle is happy going into the game with an advantage, but paid respect to Goa by stating that their recent away record shouldn’t be underestimated. He explained, “I think when you have any advantage, it’s good to have it. But, we know it’ll be a very dangerous game, as we’re playing against an outstanding team.”
“They finished in #1 position for a reason because over the course of the 18 games they have been the best team. We have huge respect for FC Goa. But, it’s great to have this kind of an advantage. We need to make sure we see that advantage through. That presents its own challenges. “
Approach Against FC Goa
“We have to ensure we’re at our best. If we’re at our best, we know we’re capable of winning games whether home or away. But, the opponents have some wonderful players. We have so much respect for them. The league presented FC Goa with an advantage, which is granted as they finished in first place.”
“My team will be ready to give them a guard of honour on the field for their advantage. But, we’ll be at our best after kick-off. We have gathered the most points from the last eight games, the most in the ISL. Prior to the Hyderabad game, this club hadn’t won an away game since 2018. But, since then we’ve won every game. We’ve shown different aspects to our play. Now, we need to maintain focus in order to move into the final tomorrow,” he added.
The Scotsman also stated that he isn’t bothered with the suspension threat, which looms over certain players if they pick up another yellow card. He said, “These players have always been focused. They’re ready to give everything they have got. I don’t think it’s a great rule that you pick up two yellows and you miss the final, but it’s for everybody and we need to be wary of that.”
FC Goa’s Attacking Threat
Owen Coyle agreed that the involvement of Goa’s Hugo Boumous, Brandon Fernandes and Edu Bedia will amplify their attacking threat and they’ll have to be wary of that tomorrow. He explained, “Yes, they have some fantastic players returning. Boumous is obviously being crowned with tremendous accolades and he should be. He is, for me, among the top two or three players in the league.”
“He adds a lot to Goa as well. Fernandes again, a clever player. He comes off the left side to create chances. I hope everything is okay with Bedia’s family. As much as we love football, family is obviously more important. We wish him well on that,” Owen Coyle quoted.
“There’s no doubt that their return will add to their attacking threat. The boys who’ve come in are good players and when you have that quality available to you, you want to utilize it. But, that being said, none of those boys play at the back and we scored four against them. So, we know we can score goals, but we’ll obviously have to guard against the threat those players provide,” he quipped.
Conceding An Away Goal
While the coach remains annoyed at the away goal Goa managed to get, he’s confident of his side’s ability to score themselves at the Fatorda. He said, “I’m upset to concede any goal. That was especially bad, as we wanted the 4-0 lead. What it does, it gave them a lifeline. We need to replicate our performance from last week.”
” But, had we come here with no advantage and with a draw, we would still feel good about it. We know we can play on the counter-attack. FC Goa know if they’re careless with the ball we can punish them. So, that’s why the game is set to be an exciting one. Nothing is decided yet.”
He also assured that his side won’t take the game lightly and will maintain utmost concentration to gain a positive return. Owen Coyle explained, “We still have a lot to do to get into the final. There will be no complacency from our side. I’ve spoken to them multiple times to ensure that. We need to make sure that we bring the things tomorrow that has brought us so far.”
“We’ve never been here because we’ve clicked a finger for success. We’re here because of a number of things, small things that combine to make a big thing. But, the desire, application and effort are the basic requirements before the technical abilities kick in. If we do that, it’ll serve us well for the majority of the match,” concluded Owen Coyle.
Andre Schembri On Change In Mangement
Andre Schembri also accompanied his coach for the press conference and indicated that his involvement has played a key role in their turnaround in recent months. He said, “I think a change in management was important for us. There was a change in philosophy and in mindset. But, the most important is that there was a change of culture.”
“Culture gives you sustainability and that’s what we’re seeing in our team. We’re seeing positive performances and hopefully, as we continue we get better.”
Dragos Firtulescu remains on the sidelines for Chennaiyin FC and was confirmed to miss the second leg by Coyle.
Kaith, Renthlei, Sabia, Goian, Lalrinzuala, Vanspaul, Thapa, Schembri, Crivellaro, Chhangte, Valskis.
Chennaiyin FC have met the Gaurs 16 times in ISL history, winning seven and losing eight, with only one game being a stalemate. However, two of those seven wins have been in the playoffs, with one other clinching them their first title.
The match will take place at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Goa on Saturday. It will be broadcast live on Star Sports 2 and Star Sports 2 HD. It will also be available to stream on Hotstar & Jio TV.