The boss is keen to rest his players as they play their last game of the league stage.
It has been a fairy-tale comeback for Chennaiyin FC after a horrid start to the Indian Super League season. The arrival of Owen Coyle totally turned the tables for the Marina Machans, as they have already qualified for the playoffs even before their away trip to Guwahati to face NorthEast United.
Ahead of their last league match, Chennaiyin head coach Owen Coyle shared his thoughts and was accompanied by veteran custodian Karanjit Singh at the pre-match press conference.
Right at the start, he was quizzed to share the secrets for this exceptional turn around at the club. “I don’t know about secrets, but from the position we were in we had to find form and win games. We had a lot to do and the players have been terrific. They listen, they learn and the spirit has been very good. I think we have a good mentality now and when you work as a team, it is a collective effort and never comes out on one individual.”
“What we did do, we evaluated the players we had and searched for a winning formula. There were several injuries, but the players showed character and discipline. We are looking forward to the playoffs and will try to take it all the way.”
There are several players knocking at the door of suspension with three yellow cards and Coyle made his intentions clear that he will bring in changes with the playoffs in mind.
“We want to win the game, but it will be very naive if I let the players with three yellow cards to play tomorrow. Karanjit (Singh) will play and captain the team. I have to say that Vishal (Kaith) has been one of the top keepers, for the very simple reason that Karanjit pushes him very hard in training. He has real quality and he has shown it in the past. I have full trust in him. The other boys are also pushing hard, but we want to maintain continuity. I will see whom I can field tomorrow,” said Owen Coyle.
Lastly, the Scotsman shared his opinions on the level of the Indian Super League and the local talent on display. “I am pleased with my group, as the players are very honest and hardworking. I think working with top coaches they will get better. It is good for their team and also the national team. I have been to various different countries and have seen the levels. In India, I see the potential is very vast. Hopefully, there are more games next year, so we can spend more time developing young players.”
Karanjit Singh who accompanied Coyle spoke about the changes in the team with the Scotsman’s arrival at the club. “We did not have a good start for the first 5-6 matches, but with the new coach coming in there were considerable changes in the dressing room and also in training. He increased the confidence levels of the players and showed trust in his players. The results are right in front of you, as we have already qualified with one game remaining.”
Coyle does not have any injury concerns ahead of the playoffs, but he will rest players like Kaith, Lucian Goian, Rafael Crivellaro and Nerijus Valksis, who are at risk of picking up a suspension.
Chennaiyin FC and NorthEast United have played against each other 11 times, out of which the Highlanders have won six times with Chennaiyin only managing three wins. The other two clashes have ended in draws. However this season Chennaiyin defeated the Highlanders 2-0 in the reverse fixture.
Karanjit; Laldinliana, Sabia, Sainghani, Jerry; Vanspaul, Germanpreet; Dragos, Thapa, Chhangte; Schembri.
The match will be telecast live on the Star Sports Network from 7:30 PM IST on Tuesday evening. It would also be streamed live on Hotstar and Jio TV.