The Scotsman warned against complacency from his team after the dominant win.
Chennaiyin FC continued their fairy-tale run in the Indian Super League by posting a crushing 4-1 win over table-toppers FC Goa in the first leg of the first semi-final this season. Owen Coyle and Co. gave a spirited performance after a 0-0 stalemate in the first half, with goals from Lallianzuala Chhangte, Eli Sabia, skipper Lucian Goian and a beautiful curling finish by Anirudh Thapa.
Goa, though, pulled one back through Saviour Gama and will have slight hope of turning things around at the Fatorda against the two-time ISL champions. However, it will be a tall order against the buoyant Chennaiyin side, who are going from strength-to-strength this season.
Chennaiyin head coach Owen Coyle had no reason to complain about the performance of his players on the pitch. “If there was a disappointment tonight, it was conceding a goal. But, that being said, if anyone had given you (a result of) 4-1 before the game you would’ve taken it with both hands. We were playing against the best team in the country. A team that finished No.1 for a reason, because of the quality, a team that has been created over a number of years.”
Watch: Match Highlights – Chennaiyin FC 4-1 FC Goa
Owen Coyle added, “We started the first 15-20 minutes on the front foot, but knew that Goa are very dangerous on the counter-attack. We misplaced some passes, some unforced errors and so I said at half-time to take care of that. We knew we had goalscorers in all parts of the field. When we did, we scored some wonderful goals. It’s only half-time in the tie, so that level of caution should be there. But, we won’t go to Goa to sit back and be negative because if we do, they will come on the attack with the quality they have.”
Anirudh Thapa scored the goal of the game and potentially the season. Owen Coyle sees it as no surprise with the midfielder’s brilliant finishing. He said, “We spoke about this yesterday (in the press conference) and I honestly feel, even if you think I’m biased, I’ve always said Thapa has been the best Indian midfielder in the ISL this season. I feel he has goals in him and we all saw that. He has scope to improve and I was hard on him at half-time and let him know that he has to get better in the second half. He saw accountability in that and then went out to score that goal that can win any game.”
“I’ve always said that we have got some fantastic individuals, but our strength always is as a group. The hunger, desire and the work-rate that these boys have brought, at least in my time, is very important. When other players chip in with goals, it takes the pressure off the players higher up the pitch,” added Coyle brimming with happiness. The Scotsman also spoke highly of the efforts from other non-attacking players who got the goals, namely the defensive duo of Goian and Sabia.