A late equaliser from Mohammed Rafi denied Jamshedpur full three points when they faced Chennaiyin at the Marina Arenai on Sunday. Coach Steve Coppell was delighted with his team's performance and was pleased to return with a point from a fixture which he considered 'tough'.
"It is a valuable point as far I am concerned. I think it helps Chennaiyin more than us. Still it is a point for us. A draw is fair on the balance. Chennai is a tough place to come. They have some really good players. We were defending too hard and we did not have an out ball. But credit to them. Credit to my players for having defended well. The marking at the set-piece was ragged with people coming in and going. We couldn't get the messages across," stated Coppell.
The game was decided by individual brilliance of two players and the coach hailed both the goal-scorers in the post match press-conference.
"Wellington (Priori) has been brilliant for us ever since coming in. You need substance and quality in your international players. He has brought that in. Long may his form continue and we need him. I know Rafi well from Kerala. I know he is good in the air. He let me down by scoring (laughs) today," said Coppell jovially.
Jamshedpur's next game is against Bengaluru FC at Bhubaneshwar and the British tactician tagged their next opponent as the 'best' in the league.
"We've done very well in the recent games to put ourselves in this position. We need to sustain this to go forward. Bengaluru are the best team in the league. They have already qualified but we expect a tough game against them. We are looking forward to it and we need to do well against good teams to qualify," said Coppell.
The former Kerala Blasters head coach heaped praise on Sumeet Passi, who made his debut for Jamshedpur FC against Chennaiyin FC after nursing a serious knee injury through the summer.
"For Passi to come in from the wilderness, he has worked so hard in rehabilitation. He spent long hours in the gym and training field trying to make his knee strong. He is young enogh to have he mentality to do that. It was a big ask of him to play upfront. He went on till the 70th minute and had to come off with cramps. He did a tremendous job. He is a type of player that gives the national team an option as well," signed off Coppell.