The head coach expects a tough game against the Highlanders and called for concentration from his team

Chennaiyin FC will look to continue on their winning start as they play NorthEast United on Monday. The two-time champions played out a gritty 1-0 win against a profligate Hyderabad FC last time.

The Marina Machans face NorthEast next who have had a slow start this season. Khalid Jamil’s men have picked up a solitary point from their two games. But, they had an improved showing in their 0-0 stalemate against Kerala Blasters last game. Ahead of the game, head coach Bozidar Bandovic was accompanied by Vladimir Koman for the pre-match press conference:

Room for improvement

Despite their win, Chennaiyin showed that a lot needs to be improved in their setup. Addressing the same concerns, Bandovic praised his side’s gumption in the first game, but highlighted some areas of improvement.

“As I said, in the last game our attack lost a lot of balls. I know it (that the attack will improve), the players have shown me during training and in the friendly games, that they can do it. It is tough to change after just one game and training session. We need to understand that it was the first game for the team after many months. So, for us, it is important to have concentration and to keep the ball more. I’m confident that the team can do it in the next game,” said Bozidar Bandovic about his side’s attacking improvement.

Bandovic also motivated his players to be better on the ball. The Marina Machans had only 42% possession and were at the receiving end of a lot of goalscoring chances for the Nizams. Therefore, stating the need for more quality on the ball, Bozidar Bandovic replied, “We need to keep the ball more. We made 57 interceptions in the last game, so we need to be better on the ball. The possession of the ball should also be more. We need to get the second balls and be stronger. I want my team to continue to show their character.”

Koman’s impressive start

WATCH: Bozidar Bandovic and Vladimir Koman speak ahead of Monday’s game

Chennaiyin FC midfielder Vladimir Koman had a dream start to life in the ISL. The Hungarian put in an all-round performance and tucked home the penalty which won Chennaiyin FC the game.

Koman’s confidence will be high after his impressive performance in the previous game and he brought the same when asked about his objectives for the season. A proper team man, Koman said, “My personal target is to get the team better. For me, it’s always the team that comes first. Of course, we are happy that we got a win in the first game and I scored, but it doesn’t matter whether it is a goal or an assist. I want to get good results with this team.

“We started the game with a little less confidence, I feel, but I think we showed the desire to win and it would’ve surely given confidence to the other players as well. We need to improve and I know the team can do, we have seen it in the friendly games. Our opponents are good and we respect them, but we will go into the next game with more confidence. I hope we will do well,” said the upbeat Hungarian ahead of the next game.

Rafael Crivellaro misses out

Crippling news came out of the club earlier on Monday. They stated that talismanic midfielder Rafael Crivellaro will miss the next four weeks due to his muscle injury. Crivellaro commenced training with Chennaiyin FC in pre-season, but has since found his muscle injury constraining.

The news would’ve come as a huge blow to the coach and fans. But, Bozidar Bandovic tends to see the opportunity in it. When asked about the news, he replied, “Rafa is an important player, a good player for us. But, all the players are important to me. So, we need to concentrate on the players who are fit, all of them are, except him. With Rafa, we will help him recover as fast as he can. No team can depend on one player, so we need to have many players healthy and I am focusing on that. The players know what they have to do.”

A tough game against NorthEast United

“For me, there are no easy games, even if they win their first two games, or they take only one point. They did very well last season. We need to be mentally prepared, show discipline and concentration,” said Bozidar Bandovic when asked about the opposition on Monday night.

He added, “They have some good foreign players. They are a good team and we need to be focused for the entire 90 minutes. I know they analyze us as we would about them. We can only make this game easy by the way we approach, how we have prepared and how we think. So, we are ready for it.”

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