The coach motivated his players to stay hungry despite a great start to the season.

Chennaiyin FC continued their good start to the ISL 2021-22 season, as Bozidar Bandovic’s men put in yet another cohesive performance to see off NorthEast United. The 2-1 scoreline wasn’t a true reflection of how the match went, as Chennaiyin weren’t troubled much by the Highlanders.

Lallianzuala Chhangte opened the scoring with a splendid strike from the edge of the box just before half-time. But, Vishal Kaith’s blunder while trying to clear his lines from a long throw-in allowed VP Suhair to head in to give NorthEast the equalizer. Just when it seemed like the game might be heading to a draw, skipper Anirudh Thapa took matters into his own hands, when his team needed it the most. The midfielder made a solo run from midfield and blasted the ball past Subhasish Roy Chowdhury with a quarter of an hour to play.

Here is what Chennaiyin FC coach Bozidar Bandovic said at the post-match press conference:

Improvement in attack

The performance of Chennaiyin FC would’ve certainly delighted coach Bozidar Bandovic, as the team showed more composure and quality on the ball. The team stepped up on the back of Bandovic calling his players to show more quality. The attack especially was an area the coach had highlighted before the game to improve, and they did exactly that.

But, the Montenegrin instead took a more modest approach to the performance. When asked of his attackers, Bandovic replied, “I’m really happy. But in football, it’s not only attacking, there is also defending. We needed to be aggressive when we didn’t have the ball and I’m happy that we did it. This cannot be changed in a short period. There are no shortcuts, we need more time to improve and we need to work more tactically and physically.”

Watch: Chennaiyin FC coach Bozidar Bandovic reacts to his side’s win over NorthEast United

A reassuring figure

As mentioned before, Vishal Kaith’s blunder brought NorthEast United back into the game. The Highlanders had a period of dominance in the game. Chennaiyin also made a few individual errors and had some fortune to get them past unscathed.

When asked about the same, head coach Bozidar Bandovic cut a reassuring stance behind his team. He stated, “I believe we defend very well. There were some individual mistakes, but this happens. What I want is for my players to not be afraid to make mistakes. If you don’t make mistakes, you don’t improve and you can’t find out where you can reach. What is important for me is that we learn from our mistakes. If the players bring me the results, I’ll support them all the way.”

A great start to the season

Chennaiyin FC are the only team along with ATK Mohun Bagan to win their opening two games this season. The Marina Machans have started well under Bozidar Bandovic.

Albeit their great start, the coach seeks for improvement in the squad. He positively added, “I’m happy because we have built this team in a very short while. We had preparation only for seven weeks. Many new players have come and we have changed a lot in this team. As I said, we still need a lot of time. I’m happy that we have won our second game in a row so all credit goes to the players. But there are some strong teams and good coaches in the league, so there are no easy games. We need to prepare and take it game-by-game.”

Chennaiyin FC will look to continue their winning start against SC East Bengal on Friday, December 3. Northeast United will face fellow strugglers FC Goa at the Fatorda Stadium a day later. Both teams will be looking to get their first win of the season.

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