After securing their first victory of the 2023-24 Indian Super League (ISL) season earlier this week, Chennaiyin FC will be looking to take full advantage of home support when they face Punjab FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Sunday.
Owen Coyle’s men secured an away win against Hyderabad FC in their last match to open their account on the points table. It will be the second home match for the Marina Machans this season.
Head coach Coyle feels that the team will get better as the season progresses. “What we have to do is to make sure we are the best version of ourselves. If we continue to do that, then we’ll pick up points and we’ll continue to climb the table for the important time of the season when you need to be there – at the very end,” the Scotsman commented during the pre-match press conference on Saturday.
Shrugging off the shaky start to the tournament, Coyle believes he has a very good set of players who will help the team win games for them. “We are under no illusions how difficult the task will be. But for us, we know that if we can perform our very best, we can win games in this league. We have good pieces, we have good players and we have boys with real commitment to shine and that’s what we need moving forward,” he added.
Punjab FC, on the other hand, are new to the ISL and are coming into this match following two successive draws. Talking about the opponent, Coyle said, “I think they’ve been a lot unfortunate. They’ve drawn a couple of games which they could have easily won. So, I think it’ll be an exciting game. The two teams will be going all out to win.”
Chennaiyin FC’s Serbian defender Lazar Cirkovic missed some training days, but Coyle informed that he’s come back in and seems in a good place. “We’ll have a look at that and give him every chance of being available,” he said.
Defender Ankit Mukherjee felt that being more defensive will bolster the team’s chances of winning the contest. “Last match we kept a clean sheet. In this league, the more defensively you play, the more chances your team gets to secure a win. We are working on how we can score more goals, how we can get more chances, and hopefully we’ll score more goals in the next game,” the 27-year-old from Kolkata said.