The Chennaiyin FC interim head coach was also satisfied about Nerijus Valskis ending his goal drought.

Odisha FC locked horns with Chennaiyin FC in what was a four-goal thriller battle for the playoff race. In the game, Rahim Ali opened the goalscoring for CFC early on with a fine strike in the second minute. This was followed by two goals from the in-form duo of Javi Hernandez and Jonathas de Jesus who struck in the 18th and 51st minutes respectively – thereby putting OFC ahead and close to grabbing three crucial points. After this, a delighted interim manager in Syed Sabir Pasha spoke about his first game in charge of the team at the post-match press conference. Here are his words:

On the result

First up, when asked if this was a game to be won, Syed Sabir Pasha stated, “Yes, we should’ve won the game – the way we played and the way we kept the ball. Yes, we had some bad patches in the match such as after the first 20 minutes where we went back to our old way of losing the ball and not showing confidence. But I think the boys showed great character. They came back very strongly after receiving two goals. It’s very difficult and coming back after receiving five goals in the last match, I think it’s a great character of the boys. Hats off to them and they have to keep this same (momentum) going in the upcoming matches.”

On his tactics and philosophy

Next, Pasha was asked about his philosophy and whether it was implemented tonight. To this, he responded, “Look, it’s very difficult to implement the philosophy. But I saw what was lacking and what we could do better. I think during these occasions, it’s slight changes that you have to make not big ones. We cannot make big changes because we don’t have time to work on it. It also won’t suit the boys who’ve been training for so long under one system. But we have to get that little bit of spark inside the game and we tuned it. I think it worked considering the way they played and we should’ve taken three points.”

Impact of Rahim Ali’s early goal

Rahim Ali opened the goalscoring early in the game in the second minute. However, Chennaiyin FC conceded two after the same before Nerijus Valskis’ late equalizer. As a result, the interim manager was asked if it was vital for Ali to keep the momentum going.

On this, he expressed, “This has been happening to us in the past few matches. Once you start well say in the first fifteen minutes, it again suddenly goes down and we never recover back. But this is the first time I’ve seen that we’ve recovered back. Either the formation has changed or the people whom we put in their right places have changed. Something has worked. I think we’ve to carry forward with this and see that we do well in the coming few matches.”

On Valskis ending his goal drought

Lastly, Pasha was asked about the importance of veteran Nerijus Valskis’ performance and how big a relief it was watching him finally end his 10 game drought tonight. He replied, “Valskis is really a good striker. Looking at the goals he’s scored, we all know that he’s anytime a goalscorer. There’s no doubt about that. Some bad patches happen to strikers but he’s a strong guy with a strong mind so it’s time that he comes back. Now that he’s got a goal, I’m very happy for him and I hope that he continues the same form.” With this, the post-match press conference concluded.

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