Jamshedpur FC will take on Kerala Blasters FC in the crucial second leg of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) semifinal at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco da Gama, Goa on Tuesday evening.
The Manjappadas carry a narrow one-goal lead heading into the second leg of the first semi-final courtesy of Sahal Abdul Samad's 38th-minute strike in the first leg on Friday (March 11). In the second leg, JFC will need to better the result to finish the match within regulation time, or else a match the first leg's result to take the game into extra time. Notably, there is no away goal advantage in the ISL.
JFC, however, will be keen to get a goal to remain alive in the contest. And if the game is not decided after 120 mins, it will be decided by a penalty shoot-out.
"We won’t be changing our approach because everyone that watches us play knows that we approach every game with a winning mentality and we have to win this match if we wish to progress to the finals for which we will need to score," said Jamshedpur head coach Owen Coyle while speaking to the media ahead of the match.
"In terms of the approach, similar to our final game that we played against ATK Mohun Bagan and we knew that even a small margin loss would end the chances of us becoming the champions and the best team in the country. But we still approached the game with the intention of winning. So, our approach will not change and we’re very respectful of our opponents who are a wonderful team.
"We’re looking forward to the game as it is an opportunity for a quick turnaround from the first game in which we were hurt as the loss broke down our winning streak which earned us the League Shield. Now we want to make it to the finals to do that. As I've said we have to play very well to overcome the 1-0 deficit," he said.
Injury concerns have been plaguing the Men-of-Steel throughout the season and the next match will be no different. Asked about the strategy to overcome the multiple injuries the team has suffered, he said, "Ultimately, we can only play the players that are fit and available to play the game, particularly the challenge we have with Len (Dounfel) missing the game because there’s another wide player coming in the back with Boris, Komal and Farukh missing from the squad. So, we’re decimated in the wide areas and everybody knows we love to play wide with our wingers which makes us an exciting team to watch as we get the wingers forward, taking full-backs on and being exciting. So, ultimately this strategy will be tough as Boris will mostly not make it to the starting XI. Len is a huge doubt and I’d be surprised if he’s fit to play the game. So we have to look at the problem we have and find a solution but this won’t change anything in terms of approaching the game to win it. We have to win as we always want to do, so we will pick a very positively attack-minded team and we need to concentrate on the ones we do have available to play."
On him having a good record in crucial games in his past clubs, Owen said he thinks it’s a brilliant record and added, "I assure you that what happened in our previous game counts for nothing. It’s on the given night of the match that if your players are at their very best and if we are the best, then we can win the game against a very good Kerala side and they’ll feel the same way like we do now. So what happened before counts for nothing as it will be two very positive attack-minded teams going all out against each other to win the game. Kerala Blasters know they have the comfort of drawing the game and progressing to the finals but for us, there’s only one way and that is to win the game. So our mindset and focus will be on to win the game which is what we’ll try to do tomorrow," he signed off.