Indian Super League 2021-22 Season Review: Jamshedpur FC
The club won their first-ever silverware this season by clinching the League Winners’ Shield.
New season and a new winner of the ISL League Winners’ Shield. Jamshedpur FC bagged the first-ever silverware in the club’s history. Consequently, they joined the elite group with FC Goa and Mumbai City. From there on, they fell to a 1-0 defeat against Kerala Blasters in the first leg. They made a valiant attempt to turn things around in the second leg with an injury-hit squad, but luck favoured the Blasters on the night.
Injuries are a part and parcel of the game and for Owen Coyle and his boys, they defined the semi-finals of the season pretty strongly. For a major part of the entire campaign, the Men of Steel lit up the league and kept fans on the edge of their seats. The team went on a seven-game winning streak and won 10 matches in the last 11. They broke almost every record last season and unarguably were the deserving winners of the league.
Fact Sheet for Jamshedpur FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22
1. Greg Stewart
Greg Stewart became only the second player to get register double figures in both goals and assists in a single season. The Scot was the missing piece in Owen Coyle’s system at Jamshedpur FC. Stewart tormented and toyed with defences with his dribbling and cheeky skills. The Scottish wizard was undoubtedly the best play-making forward this season.
He averaged 3.1 key passes and 1.9 chipped passes every game. Despite all his individual brilliance that won him the Hero of the League award, he was a team player. Stewart’s humility and friendly nature helped him to adapt early and build an understanding with the other players.
2. Jitendra Singh
Jitendra Singh spoke about his transition from a defender to a midfielder at the start of the season in an exclusive interview with Khel Now. He was optimistic to do well and grabbed the opportunity with both hands. Jamshedpur had a shortage of midfielders throughout the campaign and Singh made sure it did not haunt the team.
He started the first 14 games in a row for the Men of Steel. He was good with his game-reading ability and passing, statistically, the youngster had a passing accuracy of 66% in the opposition half.
3. Peter Hartley
The Captain instilled a winning mentality in his team in the last two years. He held the defence tight and was vocal on the pitch as well. No one would forget his headed clearance from Joni Kauko’s shot in the League Shield decider, which beat Rehnesh and was going into the net. Hartley always took responsibility in clutch moments and led from the front. He scored three goals as well in the season.
Underperformer of the season
The winger was brought in from FC Goa in the ISL 2020-21 season’s winter transfer window. Len demonstrated his quality in the red shirt and won the trust of the coach. The hat-trick scorer for NorthEast United started the season well and scored against ATK Mohun Bagan, but slowed down after that.
He became predictable with his movement and crossing and was not clinical with his finishing as well. Eventually, he lost his place to young Boris Singh, who brought in new energy on the right flank with his pace and enthusiasm.
Len Doungel’s 2021-22 season by numbers
Appearances: 18 (started 14)
Goal conversion rate: 8%
Accurate crosses per game: 0.3 (25%)
Shots on target per game: 0.3
Dribble success rate: 56%
Despite playing well, Jamshedpur FC failed to achieve something tangible owing to injuries and some controversial on-field decisions. Hence they were termed underachievers and were not rated good enough to win something this season too.
But the Men of Steel found their way out of every difficulty and created history. To win the League Shield being the underdogs shows the togetherness of the team. So there can’t be only three top performers from the side. Dinliana Renthlei, Boris Singh, winger Ritwik Das, and super-sub Ishan Pandita contributed equally to the team and are worth a special mention.
1. Jamshedpur FC 1-0 FC Goa
2. Jamshedpur FC 3-2 Mumbai City FC
3. ATK Mohun Bagan FC 0-1 Jamshedpur FC
Manager’s Report Card
Owen Coyle has always been known for taking evolving projects as a challenge. Be it Burnley, Bolton Wanderers, Chennaiyin FC, Jamshedpur FC, and even his latest club Queens Park FC, who are eying promotion to the second division. Last year, he took over after the club’s worst campaign and took them to sixth place, just four points shy of fourth-placed FC Goa.
He already instilled his style of play in the previous season and made some key reinforcements in bringing Farukh back with Len and Boris. With no time this season, he managed to assemble a terrific and well-balanced squad.
Despite not being rated high enough by the pundits, Owen Coyle kept his side motivated to win every game. He infused the hunger and winning mentality in the team, resulting in the Men of Steel being the most consistent side in the league.
The team knew how to play attacking football, but they were equally sturdy at the back and efficient from set-pieces as always. This season, we learned new aspects of Owens’s coaching philosophy that became crucial to him bagging his and the club’s first trophy in Indian football. Furthermore, the development of Indian players like Jitendra Singh, Dinliana, Ritwik Das and Boris, who were not getting enough game-time at their previous clubs, added another jewel to his crown.
Lessons to be learnt
How to break down stiff defences is still Jamshedpur FC’s biggest concern. The same was visible in the game against Bengaluru FC and in the semi-finals. With Greg firing and in top gear, they did it against most sides, but could not defeat Bengaluru over two games. The club need to play from the central channel as an alternative.
Injuries and Jamshedpur FC is a love story that never ends and always brings misery to the club and its fans. The team had no wingers available for the second leg against Kerala Blasters and consequently, it ruined their dreams of completing the double. Also, the club need an Indian creative outlet in the middle of the park. Stewart was often the sole engine in that regard.
With the departure of Owen Coyle, the management has a big task to retain the core and find someone who can build on the work. The effectiveness of these changes will decide the forthcoming season for Jamshedpur FC.
Snehil Sinha: This 8th ISL season was a fresh start to a very similar line-up for the Jamshedpur FC side which finished the previous season in the sixth spot on the table. Coach Owen made some exciting additions to strengthen the team. The additions of Komal Thatal, Laldinpuia, Eli Sabia, Jordan Murray, Greg Stewart, and also Ishan Pandita elevated the excitement.
Addition of Daniel Chima Chukwu to replace Valskis, was indeed a masterstroke decision by the coach and club management. Chukwu was somehow the missing part of the Jigsaw Puzzle. And the constant defence line of Ricky, Hartley, Sabia and Dinliana led the team upwards and forwards to the Top of the table.
The team being crowned as the League Shield Winners was the most rejoicing part in the club’s history. The fans, players, and support staff are all thrilled. TP Rehenesh and Alex Lima’s contributions are worth a mention. This team was made by Coach Owen Coyle. He gives the motivation, support, and morale boost to get the best out of a player. And that proved to be the main ingredient of the team’s success.
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