The Aizawl mamager is keen for his team to continue their good form…

Chennai City gave table toppers Mohun Bagan a run for their money on January 21 as they became the first team to score past a Mohun Bagan in 16 games when Marcos Vinicius broke their I-League duck. The Mumbai-born coach acknowledged the threat the eighth-placed Chennai side would impose, stating they would lock horns with a solid team on Saturday night.

“Talking about tomorrow’s game, we know that we are playing against a solid team in Chennai City, who are coached by Robin Charles [Raja],” said the Mumbai-born manager. “I saw them play against Mohun Bagan; they played good football. I’m not going to take this match lightly. We’ll play our normal game.

“I’ve seen, maybe, all of their matches which were telecast live. They were defensively strong and good on the attack against one of the toughest sides in Mohun Bagan. They have experienced players, and their foreigners are good players as well. Talking about Indian players, they are mature and senior players. It will not be an easy game.”

After seeing their relegation overturned by All India Football Federation in light of the Goan clubs pulling out of the tournament, they now look serious title contenders, sitting just a win against Charles Raja’s side away from levelling Mohun Bagan’s points tally. Asked about Aizawl’s season target, he said: “I’m thinking only about tomorrow as we’re playing against a solid and tough team. We’ll go step-by-step and see later on.”

Before moving to Mizoram to manage Aizawl, he enjoyed considerable success managing Mumbai as he managed to keep them away from the relegation dogfight with limited resources. However, he refused to consider himself superior to Charles Raja, who has not managed a top-flight club before. “In coaching, it does not matter. It depends on the players. They have experienced players. They have [Dharmaraj] Ravanan, Debabrata [Roy], [Dhanpal] Ganesh and a lot of experienced players. He knows Chennai, about this ground; he knows everything. His inexperience does not matter,” he stated.

Jayesh Rane followed in the footsteps of his mentor from Mumbai to Aizawl earlier this season. After an uninspiring season with Chennaiyin in the Indian Super League, he seems to have rediscovered his former self as he remains one of the three Aizawl goalscorers having scored the second in the 2-1 win against Shillong Lajong. Asked about his inconsistency, the 39-year-old manager said, “At present, he is playing like how he used to play. There is no difference. He has had good games for Chennaiyin, and he is capable of producing such good performances for us as well.”