Chennai City FC take on title favourites Minerva Punjab in a crucial I-League encounter on Friday at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Coimbatore.
Visitors Minerva will be eyeing full points against minnows Chennai City to move a step closer to their maiden title. They just need four points from their last two matches to claim that honour.
Chennai, on the other hand, come into this clash on the back of a 7-1 defeat against East Bengal. They will look forward to shrugging off all their woes and focus on the Minerva clash.
On being asked about their performance against the Kolkata giants in their previous match, Chennai coach V Soundararajan said, "In the previous match we started well but after that, I don’t know what went wrong. This sometimes happens in football. I have instructed my players to not concede early goals. If possible, score a goal in the first half but otherwise don’t concede goals."
The Chennai coach suggested that his players are not under any pressure and they would go all out against Minerva. "We will go all out tomorrow as we have nothing to lose. I don’t know about our relegation. Some problems are going on. I am not sure if we will be relegated or not. The team is not under any pressure," said Soundararajan.
Chennai had lost 2-1 in December when they travelled to Ludhiana for the reverse fixture. Revenge will be on the Southerners' mind on Friday. On that aspect, Soundararajan said, "We lost 2-1 in the first leg against Minerva. We will want to take revenge against them."
Minerva coach Khogen Singh refused to underestimate Chennai even though they were thrashed in their previous game. Singh said, "We never underestimate our opponents. Chennai City played good football in the first leg in our home. We respect them. They are a good side. They have good players."
Khogen Singh further mentioned that his players must be mentally strong to win the title. "In football, mentality matters. If you are mentally prepared you will win. The main thing we are focusing on is the mental fitness. Players need the mental strength to win," suggested the Minerva coach.
On asked if the temperature in Coimbatore and the ground conditions at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium will be a factor for them, Khogen suggested, "I don’t think the conditions will affect us. The ground is good, other than some parts. Otherwise ground is not an issue. If the players are intelligent they can play anywhere."