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I will leave if Chennaiyin don't qualify for play-offs :Marco Materazzi


The Italian spoke ahead of a ‘must win’ game against FC Goa…..

Chennaiyin welcome Goa to Marina Arena as they look to end their two-game winless run, and coach Marco Materazzi is confident that they can emulate last season’s heroics.

The Super Machans lost two league games in quick succession before proceeding to lift their maiden Indian Super League title last season. The Italian coach wants his personnel to display a winning mentality as he acknowledged that bouncing back at this stage of the season could decide how far they go in the competition.

“It's very important to bounce back,” said Materazzi. “Last year, we were in an even worse position than now, so we have to show that we still have it and that we can win on Thursday.”

Chennaiyin lacked cohesion in the 3-1 loss to Delhi Dynamos as Raphael Augusto and Co. struggled to string passes together. However, the manager refused to single out any player as he claimed that the absence of a strong mentality had been the only factor stopping them from producing the results the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium faithful yearn for.

“As I've said before, you win as a team and lose as a team. It's not about the individuals, it's about the mentality,” reiterated the Chennaiyin manager.

“The mentality makes the difference. You can have the technical skills, but if you don't fight, you cannot win. We didn't show this in the last two matches and I'm going to tell this to my players before the game that they need to have the hunger and will to win.”

Although Chennaiyin strived to get back into the game for the better part of the 90 minutes, they looked devoid of energy and motivation in the final few minutes. When quizzed about the same, he said, “If you’re talking about the last game [against Dynamos], you’re totally right, we didn't have that something in the end, but the Kolkata game, I didn't see it that way. We were losing, then we bounced back, we were leading and we conceded that goal. Still, in the final minutes, we had many chances.”

Dhanachandra Singh missed Chennaiyin’s first two games, with his understudies in Nallapan Mohanraj and Jerry Lalrinzuala being targeted by Kolkata and Dynamos alike. However, the Mohun Bagan left-back looks set to return, with the manager announcing that he now boasted a complete squad to choose from.

“They are all available,” said Materazzi. “It is a good thing for a manager or a Head Coach when he can choose. I've had some time to think about the last game and to think about my choices and as I've said before, whoever deserves to play, will play.”

“If I had the chance to change all the eleven players from the last game — actually twelve including me — I would have done it. The regulations say I can only change three. So I’ve had time to think about it and I will play my best 11.”

The 43-year-old Italian has been one of the very well-known figures to return to India year after year, but he confessed that he would have a decision to make at the end of the season in the event of Chennaiyin not making the play-offs this season.

“We have to make the play-offs,” claimed Materazzi. “If we cannot, it will be bad for us. At the end we have to make calculations and see what’s happening and if things do not go well then maybe I will not be here as Head Coach for next year. We have to show our love for the club and we have to win. Let’s hope for the best.”

Chennaiyin defeated today’s opponents in the Final of ISL 2015. Although Goa manager Zico stated that last season’s disappointment hardly bothered him. The Machans coach alleged that the Gaurs would be desperate to avenge their loss despite stating he would goad the Chennaiyin players to go the extra mile tomorrow to make up for their loss against Dynamos.

“If I was leading in the 88th or 89th minute and then lose at the end of a Final, I will be upset as well and they [FC Goa] will show the hunger to win. However, we are coming back from a loss as well and we have to put something more as well," Materazzi signed off.

Photo © ISL Media

Report by Khel Now Correspondent from Chennai Praveen Paramasivan.

Published: Thu Oct 13, 2016 12:47 AM IST


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