Chennai City will be on the verge of doing the double when they take on Mohun Bagan on Wednesday at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Coimbatore. The Kolkata giants' coach Sankarlal Chakraborty sounded cautious and showered praise on his next opponents.
"I don’t think it was an upset. Chennai City played very well. But this can happen in a league. In the present situation we don’t have an option. We have to win tomorrow. It will not be easy. They have a good combination of Indian and foreign players. Their coach is a very intelligent tactician," he said at the pre-match press conference.
"Confidence is good but not over-confidence. According to the table they might be down but their performance speaks something something else. Even against Aizawl they created many scoring opportunities," Chakraborty added.
The Bagan coach also seemed showered praise on Michael Soosairaj and even went ahead to suggest that the Chennai skipper should be considered for the national team.
"Soosairaj is a very talented guy. He is technically gifted and Stephen Constantine must take a look at him," he remarked.
The former assistant to Sanjoy Sen remains confident that the league is still open and anyone from the top-four can go on to win it.
"League is still open and it is not a two-way league between Minerva and NEROCA. Our team is much more confident and we must carry forward the performance in the remaining six matches to stand a chance of winning it," stated Chakraborty.
The gaffer clearly stated that the team has moved on and the absence of Sony Norde is not in their minds any more.
"We should forget Sony now (for the time being). As a coach I don't like one-man hero. He can only win you one or two matches but a collective team will wn you the championship," Chakraborty replied when questioned about how the team has adapted to Norde's absence.
On the other hand, Chennai City coach V Soundararajan sounded upbeat after strengthening their squad with two overseas and one domestic signing. If Chennai gets the green signal from AIFF then it will be for the first time that the Southern outfit will field five foreigners.
"We have added two foreigners in our squad and also one player from Kerala who previously played for Mohun Bagan and Chirag United. Kim from South Korea is a defensive midfileder while Alexander from Serbia is an attacking midfielder. We want points, be it a win or a draw," he stated.
"Junior (Joachim Junior) is also happy with the new recruits as Alex is providing him with good balls to score. I motivated them by saying that tomorrow you will have to prove that you are better than Mohun Bagan foreigners. I have shown some videos of Mohun Bagan and we have done our homework to get the full three points," Soundararajan added.
The coach however also acknowledged that the move might boomerang them as the new recruits are yet to build an understanding with the other team-mates.
"It is a risky move as it is a fresh system. Understanding might be a problem as the foreigners have had only two practice sessions with us. Apart from that our team is fine. I don't want to disturb my defense and all the new players will slot in either midfield or attacking midfield position," he remarked.
Chennai will look to do the double over Mohun Bagan as they need the three points to get some breathing space in regards to the relegation zone.
"We don't want relegation so it is a must-win for us. Organisation wise they are better than us. We want to repeat our previous performance. We still have five matches in hand and we are aiming for top six. It is a virtual final for us and we will go all-out," concluded Soundararajan.