ISL 2020-21: ‘Miracle man’ Laszlo keen to inspire Chennaiyin FC

Csaba Laszlo was announced as the man to replace Owen Coyle. The Hungarian is hoping to finalise the formalities which would allow him to reach India in the upcoming weeks to formally take over the reins.

While Chennaiyin FC new coach Csaba Laszlo hopes to lift an elusive first trophy, he wants his time in Indian football to be marked by influences which are also intangible.   -  Special Arrangement

Csaba Laszlo, the new Chennaiyin FC coach, is yet to lay hands on silverware in a 16-plus long managerial career. While he hopes to lift an elusive first trophy at his new club, he wants his time in Indian football to be marked by influences which are also intangible.

“You know what I wish for? I wish it’s not just the Chennaiyin fans who will know my name. I want people to know that we made the club more braided together and that is the most important thing for me. I hope we are capable and together we can reach our targets,” says Laszlo, who was described by the African media as the ‘Miracle man’ for his work with the Uganda national team between 2006 and 2008.

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Laszlo was announced as the man to replace Owen Coyle on Sunday and is hoping to finalise the formalities which would allow him to reach India in the upcoming weeks to formally take over the reins. The Hungarian walks into the role, hoping to provide the required stability to last season’s Indian Super League (ISL) beaten finalist ahead of the new campaign.

Chennaiyin was among the high-scoring teams last season under Coyle, who inspired a stunning turnaround to lead the team into the final with an enterprising brand of football. The fans of the club will hope for Laszlo to build on the positives from last season.

“With this situation, there is the possibility to grow more together in one place. We can communicate more and my coaching also has a lot to do with communication - to know your players and to know the staff members. It won’t be about just saying hello and after two hours of training, you go home.” - Csaba Laszlo

“My philosophy is to be more pro-active,” explained Laszlo. “I try to adapt the game building up from behind and controlling the game with the ball. But if you don’t have the players for this then you have to be also active, operate with long balls, and try and win the second balls. For me, you have to be pro-active to win the second balls as well. After losing the ball, it is important you try and recover and press the opponent into committing mistakes.

With the COVID-19 pandemic still at large, the upcoming ISL season, set to be held in Goa behind closed doors, will be a unique challenge. Laszlo, who last took charge of Romanian club Sepsi OSK Sfântu Gheorghe in 2019, didn’t want to shirk away from the opportunity of coaching for the first time in Asia.

“It’s not unique because I don’t want COVID to stop our activities, our thinking and our lives,” he said. “We talked about my tactic being pro-active and in this situation too I am. We hope everything will be safe and ISL will be looking at all possibilities to look after us and have normal lives while in Goa.”

As the team prepares for the new season, the club has retained key core members in Eli Sabia (Brazil), Rafael Crivellaro (Brazil), Anirudh Thapa, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Vishal Kaith, Jerry Lalzrinzuala, Edwin Sydney Vanspaul and Germanpreet Singh. However, the club is left in a similar situation from last season of having to fill the majority of the seven foreign player slots.

“We have to replace some very important players that we have lost, because of different circumstances,” the Hungarian noted. “Most importantly players like Andre Schembri, Nerijus Valskis and Lucian Goian, the captain. They had an up and down season last year before finishing on a high. I am coming into a team where I don't have to replace 10 players but replace maybe four players.”

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While the idea of a bio-secure tournament out of a single city provides its own challenges, Laszlo feels the minimal travel exertions could prove beneficial.

“With this situation, there is the possibility to grow more together in one place. We can communicate more and my coaching also has a lot to do with communication - to know your players and to know the staff members. It won’t be about just saying hello and after two hours of training, you go home. Even if you don't have the issue with travelling, you can play, maybe train a bit more or you can use the time for extra training for players who need it. You could recover better from injuries.”

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