The Romanian is intent on building on the win against Odisha FC.

The duo of Chennaiyin FC coach Csaba Laszlo and Enes Sipovic faced questions from the media ahead of their game against SC East Bengal on Monday night. The Marina Machans seek to continue their upward progress and a win against the Red and Gold would certainly accentuate their case for the playoffs.

Chennaiyin put in an efficient performance to see off the Juggernauts in the last game, but now in the second half of the season, things could get tougher for them on the road to the Indian Super League playoffs.

Areas to improve

Speaking on the performance against Odisha FC and the improvements that he feels could be made, Csaba Laszlo replied, “We have to be more compact in defence. The movement without the ball can also be improved a bit.

“We missed some chances and had a lot of good opportunities. Overall, I was happy with the performance against Odisha and if we continue to play the way we did then I think we would do much better.”

Their opponents on Monday have found a creative spark with the partnership between Bright Enobakhare and Jacques Maghoma and when asked of their specific plans for East Bengal’s sprightly attack, Csaba Laszlo said, “We have discussed tactics for their players in midfield. If we stay compact, then I believe we have enough quality to win the game.

“With all respect to East Bengal, they have brought in new players who have done very well. But, as I’ve said, we don’t plan for 1-2 players and we plan for our team against the other team. You never know how these games go, but we have to work hard to get the three points since every point counts from now on.”

Quality of squad

Chennaiyin FC have already suffered a major injury blow with captain Rafael Crivellaro sidelined for the rest of the season. But, with Manuel Lanzarote recently joining the squad, Laszlo feels that his side’s depth and quality are enough to take them past the playoff line.

Speaking on his squad’s quality, he replied, “I have players like Enes and Eli (Sabia) who offer a lot of quality and the young players. We lost Rafa in midfield, which meant we needed more creativity. The Indian players also possess the experience although they are young.

“We discovered players like Deepak (Tangri) and (Rahim) Ali. We also have players on the bench like Germanpreet (Singh), Edwin (Vanspaul) and others. So, overall the team chemistry is good. (Despite) some results not going our way, I believe we are still in (contention) for the playoffs and will get even stronger in the second part of the season. I believe the team will show more fighting spirit than just their skills.”

Enes Sipovic on ISL

Enes Sipovic has been a mainstay for Chennaiyin FC at the heart of the defence and has proven to be a spirited customer for the Marina Machans.

“It’s a really tough league,” said Sipovic when asked for his thoughts on the ISL. Reflecting on his first season in India, he answered, “it is not simple to come and play. The quality and work-ethic is amazing here in India. Every team is equal in quality and every game is tough. When I compare with the other places I played, the game is a bit faster there (in Qatar), but the game is more technical here.”

Aggressive defending

When asked about his aggressive and passionate nature of defending, he stated, “We look at our opponents and the players I would go against. I like to be aggressive and you have to be as a defender. Otherwise, attackers would take advantage of you. It is important to always stay on top of the opposition.”

Speaking on his Indian teammates in the side, Sipovic provided words of motivation by saying, “The young Indian players are very talented, there is nothing much I teach them because they have the coach. All I say to them is to be honest and always give 100% of their effort, whether it be training or the match. You can’t do 50% in one place and put in 100% at the other.”

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