The Scotsman spoke about his time at Chennaiyin FC, move to Jamshedpur and realistic targets going forward.
- “Have nothing against ‘wonderful people’ at Chennaiyin FC”
- The new coach is excited to work with and develop Indian players
- Mental challenge for everyone involved this season because of the pandemic
In a surprising turn of events, Owen Coyle left Chennaiyin FC following a spectacular run to the final of the Indian Super League. The 54-year-old will now take charge of Jamshedpur FC for the 2020-2021 season.
Khel Now had an opportunity to sit down for an exclusive interview with the man himself and discuss the move, Indian football and everything in between.
Owen Coyle began by speaking about his previous association with Chennaiyin FC and how the move signalled a renaissance in his career after what was a long hiatus from the sport.
“I was offered a number of jobs in-between. Obviously when Chennaiyin came about, it was the right thing. I had been offered the job years before. I knew the club. I always looked at the Indian Super League and it was great to come and enjoy the football, the team and the people.”
He went on to explain, “They had a slow start, they decided that John was leaving. Amoy (Ghoshal) got in touch again. Asked me if I was interested. I looked at it and I thought, yes, I can go there and help them to win games.”
“I looked at the team and the players and thought that there are a few players there that we could help and get the team back to winning ways. They had not started very well and had already played four out of their six matches at home. So, of course it was a huge challenge. Football is a brilliant game and when you get working with players you can achieve magical things.”
The Scotsman had expressed a desire to remain at the South Indian club, following the 2019-2020 season finale. But, Coyle explained his decision to make the move to the Men of Steel for the upcoming campaign.
“My contract finished on the 14th of March, on the day of the last game, after the final. So, I’d been a free agent ever since. I’ve got to say that I’ve had a number of offers, home and abroad. When Mukul (Choudhari) in particular and the chairman came on, from Jamshedpur – it obviously did not happen today or yesterday. There has been dialogue throughout – it felt the right challenge to me.”
“The club has not been to the playoffs yet. So, I’m looking as the head coach thinking, well if we could be there, we could go take a great club like Jamshedpur to the playoffs, that is tremendous success again,” added the coach.
The new head coach made it clear that his vision for the club was to work with the young Indian talent for the betterment of the game in the country. “My vision is to continue to grow and develop Indian players. Jamshedpur have a history for that. It is like putting the pieces of a jigsaw together and making sure that everybody is singing from the same page and we all want the same thing.”
Owen Coyle also addressed the importance of recruiting well to add to the likes of Aitor Monroy and David Grande already at the club. “It is going to be a different setup this year because obviously the pandemic and everything. We have to make sure that the players we bring in are mentally strong as well. So, that is important in terms of recruitment, that we bring in the right type of players that will complement the ones that we already have. We have some terrific young Indian players and I’m looking forward to working with them.”
The former Burnley manager spoke of his excitement to work with a team with such a strong foundation in Indian football at a grassroots level, also mentioning the impact that the Tata Football Academy had on his decision to join the club.
“I’m very excited and that was a huge part of it. You mentioned the history of the club, what it stands for and particularly the fans – the fans will be desperate to have been in the playoffs for the last three years – so we want to give them something to shout about and put a smile on their face.”
Describing his eagerness to work at his new project, the coach said, “The infrastructure at the club, the stadium is magnificent, the playing surface was as good as anything I’ve ever seen. Obviously, the faith and the trust they have shown in saying to me that it is a two-year contract to begin with. That tells you that they have a lot of trust in you, so I’m looking forward to going and giving something back to them.”
Coyle stressed that his aim at Jamshedpur FC is to setup something that would outlive his tenure at the club, a culture that would stay with the side as they move forward. “I think what I want to do is that I want to put something in place that has longevity, that will stay at the club for years to come.”
“There is going to be a big onus on Indian players. So, we have to make sure that we develop them at the right stage as I have done many years before, so that they can go on to be first-team players for Jamshedpur and hopefully go on to play for the national team,” he elaborated.
“I speak to Igor (Stimac) a lot. We share a lot of the same vision. As much as I am there to win games for my club, I also want to go and develop the Indian players,” the tactician added.
The head coach outlined his desire to inculcate the philosophy of playing quick, possession-based attacking football, that he implemented at Chennaiyin, at the Furnace, despite having to go into the next season without the luxury of a full pre-season at the helm.
“The challenge this year will be a real mentality challenge for everybody involved. Because everybody is in the same place and we might be restricted in our movement, so we have to be strong mentally.”
Finally, Owen Coyle spoke about how he wants to lift the over-reliance on foreign players in the side when it comes to scoring goals.
“That’s what we have got to understand, we cannot have an over-reliance on one or two people because they may not be having the best game or they may pick up a niggle or an injury. So, that is why I say, our strength will always be as a group. The way we play will always be attack-minded. So, I want my full-backs to get forward, my midfielders to get forward,” the Scotsman explained.
The new season of the Indian Super League is reportedly set to begin in November. The new Jamshedpur FC boss will be looking forward to taking his side to new heights over the course of the campaign.