Jamshedpur FC head coach Owen Coyle isn’t one to mince his words. The 54-year-old can be extremely liberal with his praise and equal parts scathing with his criticism. Which is why, when he seems cheerful about his team’s hard-earned point against favourites Mumbai City with one man less, you’re inclined towards sharing his optimism.
“I thought it was an outstanding performance. If we had eleven on the pitch we might have gone on to win the game. That being said, the spirit and quality we showed after going down to ten men was incredible. We have a very good group of lads who are working hard every day. It’s an enormous source of satisfaction to see how hard the boys are working to try and win points and I feel we are moving in the right direction,” he said in the pre-match press conference before Jamshedpur’s Indian Super League (ISL) game against NorthEast United.
The Men of Steel have been brilliant in certain moments and extremely ordinary in others. As a result, they find themselves at seventh position in the table even though they haven’t lost since their first match against Chennaiyin FC. Discipline has been a major issue, and Coyle’s side have seen three red cards till now, the highest in the league. The latest with that ignominy is Spanish midfielder Aitor Monroy.
“It’s the same as Laldinliana not being available, or David Grande, or Joyner, or Narender, the list is endless. But it’s the boys we have that we have to focus on and whoever is asked to come in will do a job with tremendous pride in representing our supporters back in Jamshedpur,” said Coyle when asked about how he assesses the situation.
Their opponents tomorrow are on a purple patch themselves and Coyle knows that mistakes like those can prove costly against the Highlanders. “They have shown that they are a very good, hardworking team. There is no doubt that they have quality all over the pitch. It’s going to be a tough game like they all are in the ISL. So they deserve enormous respect. It’s a game that we are looking forward to and we know that if we are at our best we can win,” he said about Gerard Nus’ side before adding a word of praise for Nus himself. “Gerard has come in as a young coach and he is doing very well. So yeah, they have been playing extremely well and all credit to them.”
The former Bolton Wanderers manager is hopeful that his boys will be at their best tomorrow, simply because they have to. They need a victory to climb up the table and the Scotsman knows it’s going to be a challenge against a young NorthEast side. “We’re very respectful of the opposition and the qualities that they have. But our focus will be on ourselves and bringing our best performance. We will of course look to nullify them but equally look to impose ourselves in the game. We are obviously five games unbeaten and we want to get the three points tomorrow. But for that, we will have to play at our maximum level,” he said as a parting shot.