Chennaiyin FC was quick off the blocks in the ongoing Indian Super League 2021-22 in Goa, but the two-time title-winner has failed to keep pace with the front-runners as the competition has progressed.
Bozidar Bandovic-managed Chennaiyin clung on to one of the top spots with seven points (two wins and a draw) from its first three matches of Season 8. However, the southern side has drifted out of the qualification positions due to its inconsistency in the recent past.
The drop in the accumulation of points could be attributed to one key factor – formation. Much like his predecessors, Bandovic set his team up with a conventional four-man defensive line in pre-season and the early phase of ISL 8.
The plan worked out well as CFC made an impressive start to its current campaign. Chennaiyin found the back of the net thrice and kept two clean sheets in its opening three fixtures, putting down its marker. But, then came a tweak – a five-member backline – that has failed to help the side build on a solid foundation.
Neither department has flourished under the new system of 3-5-2 which has been implemented by the Montenegrin manager. In its last seven matches, CFC has collected only seven points and suffered four losses while scoring just six goals and conceding 11. When asked if the players are finding it difficult to adapt to the latest formation, Bandovic replied in the negative.
“If you look at the previous game [against FC Goa in Bambolim last Saturday], you may say so. But if you look at our matches against ATK Mohun Bagan, Bengaluru FC and Odisha FC, we played beautiful [football] with a back three and created chances. We made good movements. I don’t think that the [new] system is a problem,” said Bandovic, ahead of Chennaiyin’s clash against Hyderabad FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda on Thursday.
“We need to be patient because we cannot fix a team in two-and-a-half months. It is impossible. We earned points when we played with a back four, but we have also been good with a back three. We just need to keep improving,” added Bandovic, who also stated that the injured Vladimir Koman would sit out the HFC fixture. Talking about the upcoming match, Bandovic said: “It (Hyderabad) is a very good team. It is one of the most organised teams in the League. It has built the squad in a nice way. We expect a difficult game.”
WEDNESDAY”’S RESULT: Odisha FC 0 lost to Kerala Blasters FC 2 (Nishu 28, H Khabra 40)