We can challenge for a play-offs spot: Coyle

At a time when Tom, Dick and Harry feels Chennaiyin FC has no chance of progressing to the next round in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2019-20, its newly-appointed manager Owen Coyle is confident of his side coming up with a surge.
We can challenge for a play-offs spot: Coyle
Owen Coyle, Chennaiyin FC manager

Chennai

After a not-so-good start under previous gaffer John Gregory, CFC finds itself in the bottom half of the table with just six points from seven fixtures. “We know we can win. We are playing catch-up and everybody has written us off, but we believe we can challenge,” Coyle told reporters, ahead of Chennaiyin’s home fixture against Kerala Blasters FC on Friday.

“I have already seen enough quality, attitude and hunger and that augurs well going forward. What happened in the past counts for nothing. Only thing that matters is what is going to take place in the future,” added the Scot. CFC was slated to cross swords with NorthEast United FC in an away contest on December 12, but the game was postponed due to tension in host city Guwahati.

So the Chennai-based outfit comes into the ‘Southern Derby’ on the back of a 11-day break, having previously featured on December 9 against Jamshedpur FC. In charge of his first home match in India, Coyle said his boys are well-prepared. “We have an exciting clash against a good side. I have fantastic players who have worked very hard. We are ready to perform to our best.”

The 53-year-old revealed his side has a couple of injury concerns going into the ninth round encounter, but refused to disclose the names of those players. “We have two players who we will take a call only on the matchday. The rest of the squad trained (on Thursday). If someone misses out, it gives the chance for another player to come in and perform,” Coyle remained tight-lipped.

Kerala assistant coach Ishfaq Ahmed felt his team is still alive in the competition, despite an indifferent start to its campaign. “If you look at the table, the top-placed side is having around 15 points. Mathematically, we can still make it to the play-offs. It’s just a matter of stringing a few wins. Once you do that, you will get the rhythm back,” stated Ishfaq. 

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