Having managed in the Premier League, Owen Coyle knows better than most that preserving what you hold in terms of the score line is imperative when it comes to game management. Especially when you have a habit of losing leads late on as Chennaiyin have been doing with alarming regularity in the Indian Super League. Three times to be precise.
Take a lead? Simple. Nurture it — see the game out and disappear into the sunset with the points. Don’t, whatever you do, take the lead only to concede a late, late goal that means you draw a game rather than win it. This is, no doubt, what former Bolton Wanderers boss Coyle would have told his charges as he prepared them for his very first outing as the new coach having replaced former Aston Villa manager John Gregory. He departed with Chennaiyin second from bottom in the table.
In comes Coyle and spirits are lifted and a certain degree of confidence returns to the team. This was evident in the display that Chennaiyin turned in during the 1-1 draw against Jamshedpur FC. Nerijius Valskis had given the visitors the lead on 26 minutes and for long periods of the game thereafter they looked well in command and without fear of heading away from the encounter with anything other than a victory.
But Isaac Vanmalsawma struck in the 89th minute to deliver a cruel twist and lead Coyle frustrated at the result but overall, he says he was pleased with the performance. Addressing members of the press after the game, Scotsman Coyle, who actually won one international cap for the Republic of Ireland, said that he was happy to reflect on the enjoyment he got from the game and added that
“if we continue to perform like that, it will lead us to more wins than draws”.
“Top four is achievable and to do that it is necessary for us to make sure to be in positions, like we did in this match. Their goal should never have been awarded as it was a hand-ball goal but it we could have created more pressure. We need to understand the important concept of game management, how to win a game.”
Coyle went on to observe that he feels that he has the right players in his squad who are willing to adapt and learn from his methods. And he said that he wants to thrill the fans with captivating football once the tactics kick in, adding:
“Hopefully, we can entertain and win at the same time. We do not fear anyone, we are respectful towards anyone. If we give our best, we can win a game.”