The Italian spoke at the team’s squad launch ahead of ISL 3 yesterday…
Chennaiyin FC manager Marco Materazzi said in a press conference on Thursday evening that his target was to win the Indian Super League title again.
The Super Machans launched their squad for the upcoming ISL season in Chennai, where their Italian manager discussed various key points shortly after the players were introduced individually. Thanking the journalists, he addressed the rise in the number of media persons from last season.
“You’ve come in more numbers this year when compared to the previous year,” said the Chennaiyin manager. “I hope you had fun watching us last season. I hope we kept up the pride of Chennai. We know what happened last year. I’m happy we won the title. The target is to win the title this year again.”
Last season’s Golden Boot winner Stiven Mendoza, who notched up 17 goals and 5 assists over two seasons, will be a major absentee in the wake of his Major League Soccer switch to New York City. Although his replacement in Nigerian striker Omagbemi Dudu hardly looks as credible a goal threat, the World Cup-winner refused to bring down the positivity surrounding the club.
“I think we should talk about who are here now,” suggested the manager “We all know he (Mendoza) is going on his own path. He is having some great experiences in the United States. With or without Mendoza or Elano, I’m here to do it again.”
The 43-year-old acknowledged the fact that all other ISL clubs would now be yearning for a victory over the defending champions. However, he is insistent on proving the club’s title-winning season was hardly down to luck as he stated they would strive to defend the title.
“Everyone wants to beat Chennai,” said Materazzi. “All the players want to win. The reason for coming here is to win. Winning [the title] once may be deemed lucky; you have to win again to prove yourself. In the ISL, you never know where you’ll finish. You can be on the top or bottom. We’ll give all we can.”
Materazzi’s playing career has seen controversies in aplenty, and with 40 yellow cards and 4 sendings off, his men finished at the bottom of the ISL Fair Play table last season despite lifting the title. Preaching discipline will not be a part of his training regime this season; however, despite that, the Chennaiyin camp will definitely be the team to beat.
“Discipline is the only thing I cannot guarantee,” stated the manager. We’re not here to win the discipline award. We won the title; if you want a coach, who wants the discipline award, tell me: I’ll leave.
“We are ready. We cannot wait. The players are excited and they are running the countdown – three days to go and two days to go – for some time now. We can’t wait to get started.”
Chennaiyin travel to Kolkata as they go up against the ISL 2014 winners Atletico de Kolkata on 2 October at Rabindra Sarobar Stadium in their first match.
Editorial by Khel Now Correspondent Praveen R. Paramasivam from Chennai .