Fatorda, March 13 (IANS) Owen Coyle changed Chennaiyin FC’s ‘mentality and attitude in training’ as they went from being wooden-spooners in December to qualify for the Indian Super League (ISL) final, where they will take on fellow two-time champions ATK on Saturday, said skipper Lucian Goian.
Chennaiyin were rock-bottom till December before Coyle replaced John Gregory as the head coach and in the 14 matches in charge, Chennaiyin went on to lose just three to gatecrash the playoffs by finishing fourth — their turnaround started from January as they went on a nine-match unbeaten run.
“When he (Coyle) came, he changed our mentality and attitude in training. In football, the way you train is the way you play. So in training, we were much more connected. He also gave us a lot of confidence, especially to some of the younger players after the kind of start we had to our season.
“We had some positive results at the beginning that also contributed to our confidence and then you saw the nine games without losing, winning against some very strong opponents in the league,” said Romanian defender Goian on the eve of the final which will be played behind closed doors due to outbreak of coronavirus.
“It was not easy in the beginning, being 25 new players We didn’t know each others’ characters. I think we showed that in the second part of the season, that we became a very strong group with a lot of quality and we fully deserve to be here (in the final),” he said.
“All the teams dream to be here to be in the final and to win it, but you can only do it through hard work and sacrifice. It has been an amazing season for us,” added the 37-year old who jumped ship from Mumbai City FC to Chennaiyin this season.
Goian admitted that their dream run will only be remembered if they get past ATK and win the title.
“We have the chance to make history. If we were out of the semi-finals, next year nobody would remember us. Now we have the chance to win the final and 10 years later people will remember that some guys won the third championship at this club. We have this amazing opportunity and we want to take this.”
Goian will be up against the lethal ATK pair of Roy Krishna and David Williams. “They are both amazing strikers but we don’t have any special tactics to stop them because in my opinion as a defender, this season we have played against some amazing strikers. If you take Goa, they have Coro (Ferran Corominas) and (Hugo) Boumous. So we don’t have anything special. We have to play our game and be focused. It’s only up to us,” he concluded.