Chennaiyin FC head coach Csaba Laszlo spoke to the media ahead of his team’s second Indian Super League (ISL) 2020-21 match against Kerala Blasters. After an impressive 2-1 victory against Jamshedpur FC, the Marina Machans will be looking to continue their run and put one over Kibu Vicuna’s men in the Southern derby. Excerpts-
On if he was happy with his foreign players’ performance in the first match
I’m not happy because they missed a few chances (smiles) but I’m happy with the way they have been training. I see on a daily basis that the chemistry is improving between all the players, not just the foreigners. Everyone is fighting for a place in the eleven. The season is long and games come thick and fast. So everyone will be needed.
On if Chennaiyin will be the fresher of the two sides coming into the game
You can never tell. Playing more games is also important. All the teams have had very few practice matches, maybe two or three. I also have had very little time with the team and just one friendly. I can’t answer correctly right now. After the game we could have more clarity. Sometimes, the best form of practice is a game so that might be an advantage for Kerala. But this will keep happening. Maybe next time we will have back to back matches while our opponents get more time to rest. We just have to balance it out well and ensure that we don’t have injuries.
On if the younger Indian players are likely to get more chances going forward
It depends. Normally you don’t change the winning combination. But of course we will have to rotate for the upcoming games so everyone will get chances. You saw Deepak (Tangri) in the last game who is an upcoming talent, (Rahim) Ali too. They’ll of course get more opportunities to play because it is going to be a hectic few months.
On if Anirudh Thapa’s performances motivate the other Indian players in the squad
If you have good Indian players who can decide the game then it is of course a huge advantage. Everybody speaks about the foreigners but the Indian players are as important. In the ISL you can play more Indians so they will have the opportunity to shine and decide matches. We have Thapa, Germanpreet, Chhangte, Ali, Reagan and others who can do that. For the future too they are the most important. In training, it is extra motivation for the younger Indian players to do well because they will have to take the baton from the senior players. You look at Bayern Munich and how they have so many local players. It gives fans extra motivation as well to come out and support the side. So it is important to have that balance between Indians and foreigners and I’m lucky to have that.
On the threat possessed by Kerala Blasters
We know our opponents very well. We will have to try to control the game. They are a great team. The coach is in his second season in India and has done well. It’s not just any other game, it’s a derby. I know we won’t be with our fans but for us, we will be playing keeping our fans in mind and with the mentality of a derby. So it is important we do not go overboard with our emotions. We will continue to enjoy ourselves. We have a style which we are working on so hopefully we can get the win.
On the talent possessed by his young Indian contingent
You know it is very important to spot talented players early. But talent is never enough, you also need to work hard to reach a great level in football. There are many examples of players who had less raw talent than others but managed to reach the top of football through their will to do better. It’s also my job to keep improving them and I am very happy how the boys have been training and I expect them to improve with every game.