Why Jamshedpur FC can be a force to be reckoned with in the upcoming ISL season?
Written by: Rohan Philip
The Men of Steel were one of the best defensive sides in the league last season.
With the excitement over the fifth edition of the Indian Super League gradually rising amongst the fans of Indian football all over the world, we take a look at how one of the sides that won the hearts of the nation, might fare in the season that is almost upon us.
The Tata group made their contribution to Indian football by debuting Jamshedpur FC in the 2017-2018 edition of the ISL. The team would endure a slow start but soon picked up pace as the cleverly crafted side guided by a veteran of the ISL, Steve Coppell, got over a start where they failed to net in the first three games of the season, to make it to the play-offs in their very first season in the top flight.
The team that was dubbed, “The Men of Steel”, owing to the history of the state from which they hailed, showed the world just what Indian football was all about. It was a team of players that were throwing punches against sides that were accustomed to the pressure of the ISL and they did not disappoint.
The side finished the 2017-2018 season in 5th position in the ISL and also reached the quarter-finals of the inaugural Super cup, where they were involved in a tunnel bust-up with certain players from FC Goa.
Jamshedpur FC made a plethora of new signings in 2018, perhaps the most important of which was their new manager, Cesar Ferrando. The former Atletico Madrid manager will show up for his first season on the touchline, bringing a little bit of the Spanish footballing mentality to the ISL.
Jamshedpur FC were rated as one of the best defensive sides in the ISL under Steve Coppell but their play always seemed to fizzle out in the final third as the Men of Steel ended up scoring only 16 goals in 18 games. Ferrando addressed this issue in his first days at the club stating that the side was promising but far from the finished artefact as it lacked in several areas.
"The team lacked in several positions last year. So, this year my primary job is to build a strong team with more attacking players. We are going to bring one very good player in defence to help Tiri, one very good midfielder, one attacking midfielder and one attacker. We will be pressing higher up the pitch so that we can recover the ball as quickly as possible. We believe in playing with short passes and not long balls. We must entertain the supporters with our football following the Spanish philosophy.
"I will be bringing in Spanish players with whom I have worked in the past. It will be easier for me to connect with them. I have been following them in various countries and conditions. For me, commitment is more important than quality. If I bench a player to recover well for the next match the player will accept it with a smile and not with a grumpy face. So, I will bring players that I am familiar with and who will give their 100 per cent for the team," said Ferrando to Goal after he was unveiled as the head coach of Jamshedpur FC.
Jamshedpur FC are also reportedly in talks with Atletico Madrid for a partnership, similar to the one the Madrid side had with Atletico de Kolkata which will only aid the sides growth as one of Indian football’s new faces.
The former Valencia man kept his word as Jamshedpur have brought in no less than nine new players for the upcoming season from clubs all over the world. Pablo Morgado, Carlos Calvo and Sergio Cidoncha, all represent a crop of players who have earned the gaffer’s trust in previous encounters with him.
This influx of superior players that have already bought into the manager's philosophy for the football club will see the Men of Steel take the next step to become one of the country's eminent football clubs. In the short history of the ISL, Spaniards have enjoyed considerable success. Ferrando will be hoping that his signings will experience the same levels of success as their compatriots have done in the subcontinent.
While Jamshedpur FC’s first season at the highest level of Indian football will undoubtedly go down as a success, the Men of Steel will be licking their lips at the prospect of strutting their stuff in a league filled with teams that have undergone massive squad upheavals. With the experience of Cesar Ferrando on their side who has managed some of Europe's top sides, the sky is the limit.
The side has addressed the issues that they faced in the final third of the pitch while also retaining the soild defensive core that saw them through to the playoffs in the previous season. While there is sure to be a massive alteration in the way Jamshedpur FC approach a game under Ferrando, if they are able to retain the stability that Coppell brought to the side, they will almost surely be a force to reckon with in the upcoming season.
The new season of the Indian Super League will begin on the 29th of September 2018.
Published: Wed Aug 22, 2018 06:02 PM IST