Chennaiyin FC has a balance of attack and defence under the new coach Bozidar Bandovic, midfielder Edwin Sydney Vanspaul said ahead of the Indian Super League 2021-22 season.
The former Chennai City star played a crucial role in the side’s I-League glory, before moving to Chennaiyin and narrowly missed the winner’s title in his debut season, under then manager Owen Coyle.
Since then, the team has struggled for consistency, finishing fourth from the bottom the following season and having three managers in three successive seasons.
“Yeah, it's difficult, but you have to adjust to what the manager or what the coach wants. Because in this profession, you have to be ready, whatever the situation is and you have to adapt yourself, because that's how you can do better,” Edwin said.
“The new coach Bandovich wants to have a perfect balance in attack and defence as well. We all players encourage these kinds of tactics. It's very useful for the club - to manage attack and defence at the same time.”
“It is very difficult to tell which coach is very difficult for me to adapt to, but everyone has different thoughts, and each coach I have played with has been very good with a positive mentality,” he added.
However, the 29-year-old remained tight-lipped on the team’s tactical plans for a season where his side will aim for its third ISL title.
“I don't want to talk much about the formation stuff because it's up to the coach. So as a player, like I said, we have a balance …. in attack and defence, so when it comes like a formation, uh, people think we just only want to play attacking football (which is not true). We have a perfect shape in defense as well,” he said.
Edwin, who paired with Anirudh Thapa to become Chennaiyin’s midfield pivot in 2019-20, got less opportunities last season, but made his appearance count with two assists in 14 games. He has had an average of more than 31 passes per game with accuracy over 70 percent.
Though he was shifted to a full-back position, he feels he is more comfortable in the middle of the park.
“I really enjoy playing in a midfield position and you know I got into national camp as well, so I had advice with our national team coach and he advised me to play in this position (central midfield),” he said.
- "This is more than a club" -
Hailing Chennaiyin FC players’ mentality during hard times, Edwin said, who rose through the ranks of I-League, said that ISL was different as it needed more physical, tactical and mental strength.
“Last year things happened (2020-21 season debacle) but the team was together - it's because of the team’s players, Chennaiyin FC is always like a family. So, whatever the situation we go through, we all face it together,” he said.
“(Last year) When I came, I had just given away a penalty (vs Bengaluru FC), but my team was there to help me out and even though we lost that game, the team was there backing me up. So that's how everyone’s mentality is over here, whatever the situation, we go through.”
Edwin signed an extension at the club in April this year and said he has dreams to fulfil with the club ahead of the new season.
“I have to do something here because I was close to do something when I came at the first moment, but unfortunately that couldn't happen. I have some dream to do with this club and I just signed back here because I just want to leave as someone who did something for the club.”
“This is more than a club. I'm family here and all the people know me - the club people and as well the fans outside. So I need to show them and I need to contribute something for them, so until that I'll be here, I hope,” he said.
Chennayin FC begins its campaign against Hyderabad FC on November 23 at the GMC Athletic Stadium and Edwin is eyeing the title from the very beginning.
“We need to go for the title and everyone has the same thing in mind so going for the cup is only,” he said.
“We have a good new team right now and a new coach as well. So I just have to contribute myself, whatever the possibilities and whatever they need..whenever I'm on the field I will give all my heart for the club, whatever the situation is,” he added.
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