Jamshedpur FC finished first half of Hero ISL 2021-22 on a high note by not only bagging the crucial three points in their match against NorthEast United FC, but also placing themselves at #3 in the league table.
On 11th January 2022, the Men of Steel will kick off the critical second half of their campaign with their match against SC East Bengal. Ahead of this second meeting, Head Coach Owen Coyle talks about the season performance so far, injury updates and more.
Here are the excerpts from the pre-match press conference:
Thoughts on Jamshedpur FC's performance so far this season
I think we did well to a point. I feel we should probably have had even more points, but again we have to be clinical at the right times. I think we’ve had more attempts than any other team in the league through some very good plays; we’re entertaining and exciting to watch and we have to continue doing that. There are things that we can still get better at, but I think we’ve worked very hard. So, we’ve been pleased with our progress, but we think there’s still more to come from us and that’s what we’ll look to keep striving for. We’ll keep looking to improve as every game in this league is a tough one. We aimed to collect those 3 points in place of 1-2 draws we have had when we felt we should have won. If you look at the 2 games we’ve lost - with Mumbai City FC we were 3-0 down after 20 minutes but we came back strong to make it 3-2 from which we could have made something from the game and the Chennaiyin game was one we wished we never had lost as we were the better team for the entire duration of the match, but we picked ourselves up just as we did after the Mumbai City game. What’s important now is that half of the season is finished and we can't let that affect us. We have to make sure we accumulate more points than we did in the first half of the season and if we do that, then of course it's not rocket science to figure out that we’ll get into the top 4 which is where we want to be, and those playoff spots with a chance to win that coveted play-off shield.
Thoughts on the decisions given by the officials in the fixtures
There isn’t a lot to be done if the goals are offside. Those are the decisions that should be given by the officials and that's what they’re there for. I am a big advocate of VAR and I know it has its own problems but ultimately, you’ll get the big decisions right and these goals will change the result of the games. In terms of the goals that we conceded, of course we look back and feel we could have done better in some instances of the game but as a collective, because I have said this before that it is never about an individual performance, it's about the whole team. Our first line of defence starts from the forwards and all the way through our first line of attack to the goalkeeper because whatever we do, we do it together. I also think there are some learning points and we are going to take them under consideration but equally, the things that worked out well are something we will continue to improve upon as well. So I think there are a lot of takeaways from the first half of the season and what we have to do is make sure that we take the positives and make sure to use them in a manner which will make Jamshedpur FC better.
Thoughts on Jitendra and Mobashir’s performance and how often will they be seen in the line-up
The development of Jitendra from the last season from working with us is that he has taken a lot of new things on board and I still think there’s more to come from him. Mobashir played a lot of games last season but obviously has been injured this season; him coming back healthy is like adding a new player to your ranks which has been great. I have no fear of playing the two young lads together in the middle of the park because I know the energy, the drive and the desire they bring to the games and there are some things that can make them even better which is an ongoing process but I love their attitude, their drive and desire to win. They are both great players and the answer to your question is of course there’s every chance that they both will play together again because they have already shown and have done being a part of the winning team. What we want in the team is a competition for places as Pronay is coming back to full health which is great for us; even he missed a number of games. Alex Lima has been outstanding but missed out on the last game because of the foreigner rule of starting only 4. We had to bring big Eli back in to the squad, so of course we have different formations and styles in order to chop and change but in respect to the question, I have very high opinion of both Jitendra and Mobashir. I think given their age, they are only going to get better and that's a great thing for Jamshedpur FC.
Any update on Komal Thatal’s injury?
Komal Thatal’s injury is taking a bit longer than 1 or 2 weeks, but he was back on the training pitch yesterday. He has started to move himself with the ball so we’re hoping that within the next few weeks, Komal will be back and available to play. He has been a wonderful addition to the squad along with Boris and Ritwik who are learning from other players like Len who has been in the league for some time now and has done very well year after a year. So, when you have the young ones support someone of Len’s quality, then it's great. Komal has excelled in this season and he will continue to do so like Jitendra, Mobashir, Boris, Ritwik and all the young lads who are striving to improve.
We’re excited to add him back into the squad; it’ll be an important time for us and hopefully it will happen in a couple of weeks.
Any other injuries in the squad?
Rehenesh is injured because of which he missed out the last game. He has come back to the training pitch but again not with the rest of the squad. We’ll give him up to the last minute to recover. Pawan Kumar came in his place and did very and Vishal was available to go well. There are 1-2 more niggles in the squad but that being said, we’ll pick the best team available and try and win a very tough game because I have to say that I have been very impressed by the SC East Bengal side lately and all credits to Renedy who has come in as a coach and shown all the hallmarks of being an outstanding coach moving forward. It's always great when you see young coaches really taking their chances when they get them but we have to make sure we are at our very best to win a tough game. If we are then we know we are capable of winning it because we know when we are at our very best, we can win games in this league. SC East Bengal is working their socks off which has been evident in their last few games. Every one of them is putting their shoulder to the wheel, helping their teammates and I am very impressed with their appetite, their work rate, so we have to make sure we match that and look to play our own style of football.
Thoughts on Peter Hartley about to complete 450 career games in our next fixture
I think everyone knows my opinion on Peter Hartley and that is why I brought him to this football club because of what he brings. He has played against me many times and I have seen him as an observer watching the games. I was always been very impressed by his abilities as well as his leadership qualities. He is a proper leader and puts his head on the line. He’s brave, commanding, inspiring and he has a real desire and fire which is something about him that I absolutely adore. He has been a very good captain and an excellent player for Jamshedpur FC and it’ll be his 450th game. There's many more appearances to come because he looks after himself and keeps himself in great shape and has a real desire to play as long as he can, so if that happens, then we know there’s many more games to come for Peter Hartley.