Owen Coyle - Chennaiyin earned the right to be in the play-offs

The Irish coach was happy with the character his team showed throughout the ISL season…

Chennaiyin FC completed a dramatic comeback in the ongoing Indian Super League (ISL) 2019-20 season after making it to the playoffs with a narrow win over Mumbai City FC on Friday.

Ironically, it was former Mumbai City FC defender Lucian Goian who scored the winning goal that ended the Islanders’ journey this season.

Speaking about his team’s performance, Irish coach Owen Coyle said, “I think we obviously wanted to win the game. I felt we controlled the game for the first 15 minutes, we posed a real threat and then Mumbai took over. They got 10 minutes of the game, a couple of long balls. They have four foreigners at the top and they created real problems. We were fluid in passing, that being said we never lost control of the game. And then Chhangte had a clear chance and it was a clear red card. And from that point, we controlled the game.

“Lucian (Goian) has been here, a loyal servant for Mumbai and it is ironic he scored, that happens in football. I was delighted by the composure he showed. After that, we had various opportunities to get that second goal.“

Coyle heaped praise on Mumbai City head coach Jorge Costa and suggested that it wasn’t an easy job to get a clean sheet at the Mumbai Football Arena. 

“Jorge Costa is a wonderful coach. He has some wonderful players and they showed great spirit, organisation and discipline as a team.

“It is satisfying to get that clean sheet. Not a lot of teams get clean sheets coming here in Mumbai. So that was pleasing. We certainly deserved this and earned the right to be in the top-four. In the last seven games, we won six.”

Chennaiyin were not at their usual best as they opted for a pragmatic approach. A team which had scored 23 goals in their last 11 matches looked surprisingly blunt in the attacking third.

Coyle, though, chose to praise the defence and suggested that the defending was positive in an otherwise off-day for the team.

“We didn’t pass the ball as I would have liked, but what I did like was the discipline and shape we showed defensively. That is a great thing to have because when you are not playing well you need that.”