The Romanian sees the game as an opportunity to regain lost pride for the two-time champions.

A sombre-sounding Csaba Laszlo acknowledged the season that Chennaiyin FC have endured so far and the underwhelming performances that his boys have put out. While it won’t be fair to heap all the blame on the coach, he will himself feel the pinch when his side take on FC Goa in a game which seems more like a dead rubber for the Marina Machans with them all but out of the contention for the Indian Super League playoffs.

Chennaiyin FC’s fate seemed sealed after their demoralising defeat to Jamshedpur FC in the last game after a stoppage-time own-goal from Enes Sipovic. Now the side will play to regain lost pride and Csaba Laszlo reiterated the same when asked of their approach to the remaining games.

Approach to upcoming game

“Like always to be positive, to show that the players and ourselves will take the best positive results out of these games. It is also important for us because we have a good and strong fanbase. Not every season is fantastic, you have ups and downs. So, we want to show to our fans that we don’t give too many gifts and in these remaining games, we have to try to score goals and try to win. We had bad periods, but we are not the team that goes down easily. We are a team that can stand up and we want to have a good position in the table at the end of the season,” said Csaba Laszlo.

He added, “Unfortunately, it is so that we had a chance to win against Jamshedpur. We have to concentrate on the upcoming games and ensure that we are still a good team. We had one bad game against Hyderabad, but before and after that game we were good. Unfortunately, we didn’t use our chances. We want to show that we might’ve missed the playoffs, but we will still fight for the three points in the game (against FC Goa).”

Conversion of chances

A lot of focus has been on Chennaiyin’s ineptitude to convert chances to goals. But Csaba Laszlo once again defended his players by saying, “We don’t get results and that is painful. But when I talk about that, we had the injuries to Rafa (Crivellaro) and (Anirudh) Thapa which were huge blows to us. I don’t want to blame anybody because we are a team and I won’t blame the strikers and the offence. I would say that we lacked concentration and are making the most of our chances. We know how painful it is when you lose and my job is to protect my players and I will do it.”

Manuel Lanzarote’s presence

Their creative metronome Manuel Lanzarote faces his former side in the ISL and speaking on his effect, Csaba Laszlo replied, “I think in the first two games, he has made a lot of difference and he was a little bit tired in the last game. He will be involved in the game. I hope that against Goa, his former team, he will show that he is a very good footballer and that he can make a difference for us.”

Mood in dressing room

The mood in the dressing room is sure to be low at this time, but the Romanian coach encouraged his players to see it as a chance to salvage lost pride for the fans. Speaking of the team talk in such situations, Csaba Laszlo explained, “We are going to play for our fans and for our pride. Not everything was perfect, but we will look to go for victories and our fans deserve it. We have to go and play for the three points and show that we are alive.”

Thapa’s fitness concerns

Anirudh Thapa is still on the sidelines having missed out on the game against Jamshedpur FC. Laszlo expressed uncertainty on his return by saying “We will have to wait till after training today. Yesterday, he trained again (with us), but I will have a consultation with the doctor and we will see after that about his situation. If he is also available for one half then we will try to get him to play because he’s an important player for us. We missed him already for a long time and he is a player who can make a big difference. But if somebody’s not 100% fit, then we can’t force it so we will hope for the best.”

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