Michael Soosairaj: ‘Looking forward to the Super Cup’

“The Coimbatore fans showed great affection for me and I want to do well in the Super Cup for the fans," said Soosairaj.

With three goals and an equal number of assists to back his displays, Michael Soosairaj (left) is currently on the radar of several ISL clubs and could well make the move next season.   -  AIFF Media

Chennai City FC midfielder Michael Soosairaj has impressed with his performances in spite of his team's disappointing showing in the ongoing I-League. With three goals and an equal number of assists to back his displays, the youngster is currently on the radar of several ISL clubs and could well make the move next season.

In Chennai's last game of the season, against table-topper Minerva Punjab, Soosairaj scored the team's first goal and set up the winning one to boost its hopes of staying up in the league. "I hadn't felt pressure like that going into a match this season. If we hadn't won, the team would have been relegated," Soosairaj told Sportstar.

The win lifted the club above Churchill Brothers in the scramble to avoid relegation. But Chennai could still be relegated if Churchill wins its last match of the season against Minerva.

READ: I-League: Chennai City FC asks AIFF for relegation immunity

Having played only four matches in the I-league last season, Soosairaj was thrust into the spotlight at the age of 23, by being made the captain in only his second year in Indian top flight football.

"Everything has been different this year. There has been a lot of attention on me from the media and the fans in (Coimbatore). I did not expect that I will do this well. Last year, I played only four matches. So this year, I wanted to be consistent but I feel I have exceeded even my own expectations," explained Soosairaj.

After his exploits against Minerva, his stock shot up to superstar status in Coimbatore. "We did not expect that we would get so many fans. We were apprehensive when the switch was announced (from Chennai to Coimbatore), because we were not sure whether there was any football culture there. Personally, they showed great affection for me and I want to do well in the Super Cup for the fans," said Soosairaj, who also lost his jersey in the celebrations.

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While the change of location has gone well for the club off the field, it may have come at a cost on it. The pitch at the Nehru Stadium was made ready just weeks before the season started, and this resulted in poor playing conditions in the club's first home match.

Explaining the team's poor run of results, Soosairaj said, "We could not come together as a team in the first three matches. As the season progressed, we were able to combine well. Also, we struggled at home as the ground was not fully ready and it took time for the pitch to settle down. So it took us some time to get used to the venue. Once we got used to it, we won two out of our last three home games."

The skipper also lamented the four consecutive draws at home. "We should have won against Aizawl, Shillong (Lajong) and Indian Arrows. We missed some easy chances and we didn't have luck in finding the goal," concluded Soosairaj.

(With inputs from S. Dipak Ragav)

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