The tactician also revealed that it is integral to win one-on-one chances against the Mariners to register a positive result.
Chennaiyin FC aim to continue their unbeaten start to the season against a wounded ATK Mohun Bagan at the Fatorda Stadium on Saturday. The Marina Machans played out a goalless stalemate in their previous game against SC East Bengal. The game against ATK Mohun Bagan could well be a test of the progress that the Marina Machans have made under Bozidar Bandovic.
It adds further spice to what promises to be an intriguing contest. Ahead of the game, Chennaiyin FC head coach Bozidar Bandovic, accompanied by Lallianzuala Chhangte, attended the pre-match press conference on Friday.
Chennaiyin FC’s unbeaten start
The mood in the Chennaiyin FC camp would be great considering they are the only unbeaten team in the ISL till now this season. They have also conceded the least number of goals this season (1). The first three games would’ve certainly pleased head coach Bozidar Bandovic, who has continuously emphasised defensive organization.
When asked about the start, Bozidar Bandovic chose to focus on the improvements for the team to sustain their great start.
“We are confident and positive. We have taken seven points but if we had taken our chances in the previous game, we could’ve had nine points. I am happy at this moment but we know this is not enough. We need to do a lot more and play better. What is important for me now is that we need to be stable. It (being unbeaten in the league) gives us a lot of confidence,” he began.
The Marina Machans also had a week’s break since the previous game. Bandovic and his men would’ve surely used this time to prepare and combine well.
“We used it for preparation. The players recovered well and we have prepared well. We know that after this, it will be a game every three-four days, so we won’t have any space for work and recovery and to analyze. We can’t ask for more at this moment so we need to be ready and prepared. But this week was good as the players have done well and we will see how we do on the field,” he added.
The ATK Mohun Bagan challenge
Despite their slump in form, there is no denying the quality of the Mariners. The Kolkata-based club is stacked with quality all across the park and will surely be the biggest test for Chennaiyin FC so far this season.
Bozidar Bandovic spoke in glowing terms of his adversaries on Saturday evening. “They are one of the best teams in the league. We need to respect them. This is a team that has won three titles and played in the final last year. They have a coach who has been there for many years. It doesn’t matter to me whether they lost the last two games. I think they are a great team and they are more dangerous than ever,” he opined.
Bandovic also spoke about the threat of the Mariners’ frontline. “They are very dangerous in one-on-one situations so we need to put more pressure on them, have good communication. They also have players who are really good with the final ball. Krishna attacks the spaces very well so we need to control his runs. We need to plan to win those one-on-one situations and need to be organised in defence,” he stated.
In their previous two games, ATK Mohun Bagan faced defeat against two teams, who employed high pressing against them. When asked if they could follow a similar tactical template, the coach decided to keep his tactical cards a mystery.
“In the three games so far, I’m happy with what I see. There is also a case where you press high and you concede a goal and more chances. So I don’t agree with that. But I need to see what can be done. We have some plans and we will see tomorrow,” the tactician answered.
Chhangte’s quest for improvement
Lallianzuala Chhangte has been considered one of the most exciting players in the league for the past few years. The Mizo winger recently broke the record for the most goals by a midfielder in the ISL.
Therefore, a lot of expectations are constantly placed on Chhangte to do well. The same, if not more, is placed on him by the man himself. When asked about his targets and the areas of improvement, he replied, “The target is to be better than last year. I also want to score more goals than last year.”
“Of course, I want to do everything and the coaches are helping me on the training pitch. I know there is always room for improvement and I will work on it. I know I need to be more confident and clinical in front of goal and I know that will happen as I continue,” the 24-year old concluded.