“Whatever challenge FC Goa presents, we have to be ready for that.” - Owen Coyle ahead of #FCGJFC


As Jamshedpur FC move ahead after their draw against SC East Bengal in their season opener, they are getting ready to face FC Goa for their second (away) game of the season.

Head Coach, Owen Coyle shares his thoughts on the team’s performance in the first game, squad updates for the upcoming games and facing the Gaurs as their next opponents.

Here are the excerpts from the pre-match press conference:

On the struggling to score more goals despite having 18 shots in #SCEBJFC

I feel we fairly dominated the game. Despite being a goal down, we showed great character to come back in the game after which we pressed even stronger to try and win. We took 18 attempts to score and even kept higher possession to create more chances, but I think you’re right; we have to be more clinical. We certainly had a couple of great chances to score, but the opposition goalkeeper made some really good saves as well. So, with the opportunities we get, we have to keep our shots on target and score from those chances. I think moving forward, we want to create more chances in the game as well as be more clinical and if we'll do that, then it would lead to the 1 pointer draws to turn into the winning 3 points for us, which is what we are after. 

Fitness updates of Jordan Murray and Greg Stewart

Jordan was absolutely flying in the pre-season. He was outstanding, but he ended up having a little hamstring strain which caused him to miss 2 weeks of training. In all fairness, he was not completely fit to come into the game, but he did very well despite not being full fit. Greg was somewhat but not as severely injured as Jordan, but even he showed his quality when he got subbed in. So, they have continued to train since then and we hope everyone is available. But, there are 2 niggles suffering players in the squad and we do not want to give that information away ahead of a crucial game. However, we will pick the best squad who are fit and available to start the game with others players coming off the bench as well to make an impact. So, we will see how well the training goes. 

On the shortage of creativity in the front caused due to two foreign players in the centre-back position

Regardless of how one decides to deploy the foreign players, whether we play 2 at the back or 1 or no centre-backs, that’s the challenge that the head coaches will face and if you do deploy them anywhere, then the Indian players will get an opportunity to step up to the pitch and help the team cope in the absence of a centre-back or a missing number 10 position player or a centre-midfielder. So, the opportunity is open for everybody and what we have to do as a coach, is pick the best player available to try and win the game. For example, SC East Bengal were hardworking in the previous game and there's no doubt that we wish that we had won that game, but now we face FC Goa, who will be dangerous opponents, so we have to make sure we have the best team available to try and win a very tough match.

On the quality of attacking going up after subbing in Komal Thatal and how often would we see the youngster in the left wing

We’ve all seen Komal play as well as Boris who are young talented players who we know can develop and turn into very good players for Jamshedpur FC. They are at an infancy stage of their careers as they have been on the bench for the majority of their club years and now they are getting the desired opportunities at Jamshedpur along with coaches who love working with young talents and can get them to become even better players as already proven. Yes, Komal did very well and so did Boris. Komal was in quarantine for some time after returning from his U-23 national squad duty, as did Narender and that’s been a challenge for everyone as well to get the boys up and running to get them to speed after their quarantine period. But, there are one or two more niggles in the squad and we do not want to give that information away ahead of a crucial game.

On the squad looking forward to defeating FC Goa after being unsuccessful in winning the last 8 games against them

I have been in football for such a long time now and what has happened before does not have an effect on the game that is yet to be played, which is also decided on the basis of merits. So whatever were the results in the past, there is no bearing on the game that is going to be played. What we have to do is make sure we are the best versions of ourselves and FC Goa have the same plan as well. They must be currently hurting after losing their first game against Mumbai City FC and it is a dangerous time to play against them. But we have to make sure we are at our very best and I know if we are at our best, then it is a game that we can win, so that is what we have to focus on. We’ll be very respectful of FC Goa’s quality as they are a fantastic club with great philosophy, players and an outstanding young coach, so they will get our utmost respect, but we have to go out and play our game the way we want to play at Jamshedpur FC.

On the game approach against FC Goa

I think in terms of performance, they would not have been happy about losing the game. I think the margin is incidental whether it is 1-0 or 3-0. If you lose, you lose and they will recover from that as FC Goa is a team who have a fantastic pedigree in their club and will look to bounce back quickly. Fairness to them as well, there are a number of top players in the club who can make a difference in any team they play but Brandon was out, who is just coming back from injury, Seriton was out and so was Princeton. So they have good players who did really well in the previous season. Of course there is no doubt FC Goa will look to freshen up and win the game, but whatever challenge they present, we have to be ready for that.

As I said before, they are a good side and they will be there in the business end of the season, about which I have no doubts. So, we have to make sure we are focused on Jamshedpur FC.

On the unfair result in last season’s clash against FC Goa

In the last season, everyone knows what happened as Alex Lima had clearly put the ball over a yard or more within the goal line. But that was not given as a goal and ultimately that’s football. Until you bring in VAR, you will end up having such a decision being taken. We have already seen in the first game that the first goal scored by ATK Mohun Bagan was clearly offside, but that was not given and that was very unfair to Kerala Blasters FC. So until the VAR system comes in, this is going to keep happening, but what we have to make sure is that such decisions do not affect us. Sometimes in a game, someone would score a really good goal, and we do get emotionally involved when the goal gets disallowed, but we have to be focused. I feel that against SC East Bengal, we let emotions take control after we conceded a goal, but we'll settle down and get back to business which is what we have to focus on.


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