The coach spoke in reminiscence after his team rounded off the season with a record 11th draw.

Chennaiyin FC coach Csaba Laszlo reminisced on his side’s underwhelming draw, which capped off a rather insipid season by the standards of the two-time ISL champions. The Marina Machans were held to another stalemate against Kerala Blasters in what was their 11th draw this season – an ISL record.

They started brightly and the Marina Machans also got the reward for their proactive apprpach by opening the scoring in the 10th minute through Fatkhullo Fatkhuloev. But, Kerala Blasters restored parity through Gary Hooper’s penalty just before the half hour mark. The Marina Machans’ attempts to wrestle the initiative from the Yellow Army didn’t bear fruit, as they had to once again settle for a point. They are the first team to finish the season, with 20 points from 20 games, including just three wins, six defeats and their cluster of draws.

Assessing the result

When asked to assess the game’s result, Laszlo deemed it fair, saying, “I think it was a fair result because the first penalty was not a penalty. So, the second one was to be given, which was a compensation. In the last 10 minutes, we had to play with 10 men, so generally it was a fair result.”

Season so far & hopes for future

ISL 2020-21 | Csaba Laszlo Post-Match Press Conference | Kerala Blasters Vs Chennaiyin FC

The season has not been easy for Csaba Laszlo and his men, but the Romanian gave an honest and upfront response to the learnings that he gained from the campaign. He made his intent evident to see more Indian players performing for the side. He replied, “I want to see more Indian players in the pitch, especially more Indian goalscorers. But, I think you need a better scouting system to ensure that we have a lot of talented players. I don’t know (nobody knows) about what will happen next season.

“The players know they will be out from football. It will be difficult for everybody coming back next season. If you want to have development, you have to think about the system of the league, to have a longer season. Generally, the players need more games, they need more training sessions. I think a lot of work must be done in this direction. I don’t see a lot of Indian goalscorers, most of the foreigners are playing in important positions and are effective. Hence, I’m happy that we have some players in these positions who are Indian players. If you want a better system then you must use your reserves and that is something we are looking from this league,” added Laszlo.

Message to fans

Laszlo put out a heartfelt message to the fans, saying, “I miss them very much. I know they are disappointed because last season we made the final and this season we didn’t even make the top four, which was our target. We played enjoyable football, but we were unlucky. I think this is the one game where I can say that we deserved the draw. In these games, we were unlucky and didn’t convert our chances.”

“But, I hope from next season, the players stay with us and we have a better run. If the fans are in the stadium, they can give us a lot of support and the energy which we need. The real fans will stay with us in the bad times. We will show desire and fighting spirit and we will never give up.”

What next for Laszlo

The season gone by is certain to put the coach’s future in doubt, but Laszlo remained tight-lipped and reminiscent about his maiden season in Indian football. He reflected with gratitude about his time in the country and expressed his desire to continue.

“We have to talk about it (his future). Today, I talked with my wife. I don’t want to go back because I already miss India. I’ve met some lovely people and made a lot of friends. The bubble really brought us together and every game was good. I hope we work together next season and I respect the club’s decision. Definitely, I want to stay in India and I want to give something to Indian football from my experience,” said the Romanian before signing off.

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