The tactician felt substitutions were the key for the victory over the Men of Steel.
The runners up of last season’s edition of the Hero Indian Super League, the Csaba Laszlo led Chennaiyin FC got their new campaign off to a winning start with a 2-1 victory over Jamshedpur FC. Anirudh Thapa opened the scoring in the first minute of the game with a smart finish before new signing, Isma Goncalves, doubled the Marina Machans’ lead from the spot.
Owen Coyle’s men fell to a disappointing defeat against his former employers despite a well-worked goal by Nerijus Valskis against his old club.
The new Chennaiyin FC boss Laszlo addressed the media following his first victory in the ISL. The Hungarian-Romanian manager sung the praises of Anirudh Thapa, the goal scorer as well as those of the other Indian players on the pitch, asserting their importance to his plans at the football club.
“Thapa was also before an important piece of our puzzle. He showed today that he can be a very good player. He has the talent and I think he also deserved to score the goal. These Indian players like Ali, Deepak, Chhangte, Thapa, Reagan, Jerry, everybody who came in, they did a great job.”
The Marina Machans started the game with new signing Reagan Singh and Lalchhuanmawia Fanai in the full-back positions, both of whom enjoyed fruitful debuts for the club. Eli Sabia, an old hand at CFC was joined by new signing Enes Sipovic for the first time against Jamshedpur. Csaba Laszlo was glowing in his evaluation of the largely changed Chennaiyin defensive unit, singling out his centre-back pairing for praise.
The head coach also addressed the fact that the exceptional circumstances surrounding this season of the Indian Super League meant that victories and points on the board had become all the more crucial to a side’s success over the course of the season.
“For me, to get three points, it’s not about style. It is a really really difficult season and the team that has no injuries and no covid can be luckier and can use all the players and can get the three points (more easily). Generally, for every three points, you have to fight, you have to show desire and I think you must also be like a team.”
The manager of the South Indian team admitted that his side failed to take advantage of the chances afforded to them to close out the game in the first half itself, despite taking an early two-goal lead in the contest.
“In the first half, we went 2-0 in the front. Chhangte had a chance for 3-0. Even Isma had a good chance to score. I think in the first half, if you want to be safe, you just have to score the goals.”
Talking about the goal, former Chennaiyin man, Nerijus Valskis scored, Csaba Laszlo asserted that his side had to do better in defence to close down what was a textbook strike from the Lithuanian. “It was a very easy ball. We did not have to lose [the ball], and we lost it in the danger zone and immediately it was punished and the game goes really very tight.”
The gaffer also praised the impact that the substitutions of Memo, Germanpreet Singh and Rahim Ali had on proceedings, giving their side that extra yard of pace from their fresh legs. “In the second half, the substitutions that came in changed the game because afterwards, we were more dangerous but unfortunately we did not close the game.”
“But at the end of the day, I am happy because the boys did a great job.”
Finally, the head coach was asked about the intensity that he had managed to instil in a new squad, despite having been afforded just two weeks of time to work with. Csaba Laszlo said, “I have also my staff and I have my knowledge about football and I want an even higher intensity. This is just the beginning because I also think that my staff has done a good job. We had just two weeks.”
“I must tell you that it is also important to use your head and your knowledge. Football is a running game and if you want to win games, you have to move, you have to go, you have to make sprints and you have to be perfect.”
“The key today was the substitutions, believe me. The fresh players coming in, they began to raise the level higher and higher.”
The victory against Jamshedpur FC sees the former two time Indian Super League title winners on top of the table after matchday 1. The Marina Machans take on the Kerala Blasters in their second match on the 29th of November 2020 at 7:30 PM IST.