Owen Coyle strongly feels that Chennaiyin were deserved winners in the first leg of the semi final against FC Goa…
A riveting second-half display helped the hosts punish the visitors’ lacklustre defending and score four goals.
After the game, Coyle said, “We have nothing to be cautious about. We did not want to concede tonight. But if somebody told us (the scoreline) 4-1 before the game, I would’ve taken it. We were playing the best team in the country. We were respectful of them.
“I felt we were not passing well (early on in the game). I told them to take care of the ball in the second half and take opportunities when it came. We did that and then scored goals. We fully deserved the goals. We can’t be negative in the second leg because if we do it, Goa will pick us off. Also, we have the flair to play on the front foot and we need to do it. It is only half-time. We need to do it again next week.”
Analysing the opponents who struggled to be a threat in the final third, Coyle began,”I think they played the same way they have been playing. They just dropped (Ferran) Corominas to (Hugo) Boumous’ position.
“All we had to do was make sure we were compact and deny space to Goa. Boumous and Brandon are fantastic players but football is a contact sport and injuries happen. That being said, they might be back for the second leg.
“When a team misses key players, it gives the other players a lift. I thought at half-time the game was equal. But the momentum we got from the goals spurred us on. But nothing is final as of yet and we’ve got a real game on our hands next week. We need to go see our job through next week.”
Anirudh Thapa scored his first goal of the season for Chennaiyin with a brilliant strike from outside the box. The midfielder’s effort was rewarded with praise from his head coach.
“I keep telling Thapa there are goals in him. And he pops up today with a great goal. He is the best Indian midfielder if you ask me. I was very hard on him at half-time with a few needless passes. I gave it hard to him and he took up the responsibility and put in an accomplished performance in the second half.”
Looking ahead, Coyle is confident of crossing the finish line and booking their berth in the final of the competition after the second leg fixture against the Gaurs next week.
“I can assure there will be no complacency. We haven’t come this far to be complacent. The team is experienced and we are always respectful of the opponent. Because if we take the eye of the ball, they will punish us. Next week, we need to be even more careful.
“Goa are number one for a reason. They are an outstanding team with outstanding coaches.”