The Men of Steel have registered only two wins against the Gaurs in their short history.
After a hard-fought draw in their opening clash of ISL 2021-22, Jamshedpur FC will eye a win when they take on an injury-troubled FC Goa in their second game of the season. In contrast to their next opponents, Goa started the season with a heavy 3-0 defeat to reigning champions Mumbai City FC. But despite their troubles, Jamshedpur FC coach Owen Coyle isn’t taking the Gaurs lightly, as he indicated in his pre-match press conference on Thursday.
“They (FC Goa) will be hurting after losing their first game against Mumbai City and it’s a dangerous time to play against them. We have to make sure we are at our very best,” Coyle opined.
He also called for his team to be more clinical in front of goal and get all three points. Owen Coyle also revealed that while Jordan Murray and Greg Stewart had slight niggles, two more players have similar injuries in the squad. The 55-year-old, however, stopped short of revealing anything concrete citing, “we do not want to give away that information ahead of a crucial game.”
Jamshedpur FC’s problem with goals
Against SC East Bengal in their season opener, Jamshedpur FC made only three shots on target after attempting 18. In contrast, SC east Bengal also had three shots on target, but attempted only 11. This though isn’t a one-time issue. Last season, Coyle’s men scored 21 goals, only Chennaiyin FC scored fewer (17).
“We have to be more clinical,” stressed Owen Coyle referring to the previous game. “I feel we dominated the game. Despite being a goal down, we showed character as we always have to come back. We took 18 attempts and kept possession to create more chances. But you’re right, we have to be more clinical. Obviously, the opposition goalkeeper made some really good saves as well. But, with the opportunities we had, we have to keep our shots on target and score from those chances.”
The Scotsman also spoke on converting the draws into wins by being clinical upfront. “Moving forward, we want to create more chances and be more clinical. If we do that, we can get all three points and that’s what we are after in every game,” he said.
Poor record against FC Goa
Jamshedpur FC have won only two of their eight ISL meetings against the Gaurs. The last of those two wins came in the 2019-20 season when Sergio Castel scored and Ahmed Jahouh was shown a red in a narrow 1-0 win. Since then, Jamshedpur have lost in all of the next three meetings. They were also defeated 5-0 in the Durand Cup recently, albeit when playing with their reserves side.
However, for Owen Coyle, the past results does not matter. He feels it will not have any effect on Friday’s game. “Whatever has happened before has little or no effect on the game that’s to come, which will be decided on merits. So, whatever were the results in the past have no bearings in the game,” Owen Coyle felt.
“If we are at our best, it’s a game that we can win and that’s what we have to focus on,” he asserted. “We’ll be very respectful of FC Goa’s record. They’re a fantastic club with great philosophy, players and an outstanding youth coach in Juan Ferrando. So they’ll get the utmost respect from us. However, we have to go and play our game, the way we want to play at Jamshedpur,” he continued.
Jamshedpur FC’s approach to the clash
Both teams enter this match winless in their opening fixtures. While Jamshedpur held SC East Bengal, Goa were beaten by Mumbai. The Gaurs are also one of the two sides who are yet to find the back of the nets. They conceded thrice without scoring any in the first match. However, Coyle feels if there is one club that can bounce back from such a result, it is Ferrando’s team.
“They’re a team, who have a fantastic pedigree in the club and will want to bounce back quickly. They are missing a number of top players, who can make a difference to any team. Brandon (Fernandes) is out, (Jorge) Ortiz just came back from injury, Seriton (Fernandes) was out and so was Princeton (Rebello). They have players, who did really well last season,” Coyle observed. “There’s no doubt, FC Goa will look to freshen up and win the game,” he added.
Coyle wants his team to be ready for all sorts of challenges. “Whatever challenge they present, we have to be ready for that. We have to make sure we are focused on Jamshedpur.”
Opinion on bringing VAR in ISL
Jamshedpur lost both their meetings against FC Goa last season, the first one under dramatic circumstances. With the match level heading into the final minutes, Alex Lima seemed to have scored. His left-footed strike hit the underside of the crossbar, bounced and came back into play. However, replays showed the ball had crossed the goal-line before spinning back into play. The referee and the linesman had failed to spot it leaving Coyle and Jamshedpur FC players agitated.
Asked if he was still upset with that decision as that defeat was Jamshedpur’s first loss in six matches and killed their chance to make the playoffs, Owen Coyle reverted, he was upset last season.
“Alex Lima clearly put the ball a yard more behind the goal-line. But it wasn’t given. Ultimately, that’s what happens in football. Until you bring in VAR, you are going to have those decisions,” claimed the Jamshedpur boss.
He also referred to the opening-day clash between ATK Mohun Bagan and Kerala Blasters where a controversial goal was allowed to stand. Hugo Boumous’s innocuous cross rolled into the net, leaving Kerala Blasters goalkeeper Albino Gomes stranded. Replays, however, showed Roy Krishna was in an offside position and interfering with the goalkeeper’s sight. But the goal stood.
“We have already seen it in the first game of the season. The first goal for ATK Mohun Bagan was clearly offside, but not given. I felt it was very unfair on Kerala Blasters. So, until the VAR system comes in this is going to keep happening,” Coyle maintained. “What we have to do is make sure decisions don’t affect us.”
After the draw against SC East Bengal, Coyle informed both Jordan Murray and Greg Stewart had niggles that kept them out of the starting XI. “He (Jordan) had a little hamstring strain that caused him to miss two weeks training. So, he wasn’t fit to start. However, he did very, very well after coming on. Greg had a similar strain but not as severe as Jordan. He had a thigh strain,” Coyle revealed.
“They have continued to train since then and we hope they’re available.” Coyle also informed two more players are suffering from niggles in the squad. However, he stopped short of revealing those names. “We will pick the best XI from the players available with the others coming off the bench to make an impact. We will take a call after tomorrow’s (Friday) training,” he added.
On Komal Thatal’s performance
After replacing Boris in the second half, Thatal induced more urgency in the Jamshedpur team and also found himself in favourable position to score. However, like those before him, he failed to place his shots on target. In the 45 minutes that he played, Thatal attempted four shots, created a goalscoring chance and won two of three ground duels.
“We will certainly see Komal playing as we will with young Boris (Singh). These are two young talented players that we know can develop and turn into very good players for Jamshedpur,” assessed Owen Coyle.
“They can have very good careers. They are young and their careers haven’t really had that ascendency, since they have sat on the bench for long periods of time. Now they are getting the desired opportunities at Jamshedpur under coaches, who love working with young players and can improve them as already proven. Yes, Komal came in and did well and so did Boris. Their presence really adds competition for places, which we really didn’t have last season. We are certainly at a better place this year to have that competition within the squad,” he concluded.