After a positive start to the season, Chennaiyin FC are all set to take on arch-rivals Bengaluru FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) on Friday evening.
Chennaiyin started their season with a win over Jamshedpur FC but then had to settle for a goalless draw against Kerala Blasters in their second game. They spurned a penalty in that match and also failed to score despite fashioning plenty of opportunities to do so.
Head coach Csaba Laszlo feels that his side needs to convert their chances against a physical opponent like Bengaluru FC who pose a very different challenge. The Blues, under Carles Cuadrat, have been effective at utilising set-pieces and have very physical players at their disposal.
"We watched their games and saw how they play. They are a physical and tall team. They create from setpieces and long throw-ins. We must be prepared for it. I think we have our weaknesses and they have theirs. I'm concentrating on my team right now," Laszlo said.
"We need to shoot more and score more. We need to convert our chances," he added. "We had one day more to practice setpieces and improve our organisation. We are organised and prepared. We will try to reduce our mistakes and use their mistakes to score goals."
The Hungarian coach is leaving nothing to chance as they prepare to face Bengaluru. He is aware of the importance of playing a rival and stated that they will look for nothing short of a win.
"Every game, we have a particular tactic according to the opposition. We know they (Bengaluru) played two draws and everyone wants to win such games. It's like a derby for us. It also helps us move forward in the table," he said.
The coach threw his weight behind striker Jakub Sylvestr who missed a penalty against Kerala Blasters and praised the team's reaction as a whole after the incident.
"This is not the first penalty to be missed in football and won't be the last. Personally, for me and fans, it was painful to see that penalty go wide. We deserved three points. But Jakub is also part of the team. Everybody can make mistakes. If we can win the next game, everybody will be happy.
"But the reaction from the team and staff was brilliant after the miss. There were no heads down and we reacted like a team, encouraging Jakub."
He also felt that the side could have done with more time to prepare before the season and the restriction due to the bio-secure bubble is also not helping things. But the coach expressed his satisfaction at the facilities on offer.
"The time is our biggest enemy because we did not have enough pre-season with new players coming in. Also, the daily routine in the bubble is not perfect. I can't take two or three players to the side and show them something helpful because of the bubble. But I'm not unsatisfied. We just need to prepare well and be more clinical."
The coach praised the potential of the young Indian players in his squad, singling out Anirudh Thapa, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Jerry Lalrinzuala Deepak Tangri and Rahim Ali for mention. He also explained why Thapa can be seen in a more advanced role in midfield under him.
"At the beginning of the season, the questions were whether Thapa should score more goals. I think yes, he can score goals. The tactical position is not important. What is important is positional play. He can run a lot, physically he is good and he has creativity and innovation which you cant teach.
"He has a bit more quality offensively. So I try to push him more forward and give him more freedom."
The coach will certainly be hoping Thapa and the other young Indian brigade in the team can create an impact against Bengaluru.