ISL: Credit to ATK for title, but Chennaiyin the better team in final - Coyle

The Chennaiyin FC manager feels his team could have been 5-0 up by the end of first half in the ISL final, which it eventually lost 3-1 to ATK.

Chennaiyin FC manager Owen Coyle watches on from his technical area   -  PRASHANT NAKWE

Chennaiyin FC’s hopes of a fitting end for its fairytale run were denied by ATK in the Indian Super League final here on Saturday. And coach Owen Coyle was left to rue his team’s poor finishing in front of goal in the 1-3 loss.

“The only thing that went wrong was the scoreline,” said Coyle, before he vehemently stressed that his team played better football in the decider. “You were all there, I think we had 70 per cent possession and we could have been 5-0 in the first half. Ultimately at this level, if you don’t take your chances it will come back to punish you. ATK scored the first time they were in our half and credit to the finish (by Hernandez). From there on they sat behind but we had plenty of chances. The man-of-the-match was their goalkeeper, who was outstanding.”

Read: Title win built on fighting spirit and collective effort - Habas

He added, “But we have to give credit to ATK for winning and good luck to them but please don't tell me they were the better team tonight. They got behind the ball, were organised and made it difficult. We conceded some soft goals and the second one could have been a free-kick and the third one we were obviously chasing the game.”

Chennaiyin was among the in-form teams in the second half of the season and Coyle was credited for scripting its turnaround after taking over at the club six matches into the season.

“As a club, we showed our class with our body of work this season. It wasn't our night tonight. I told the players to make sure the next time you are in this situation, you are the ones to lift the trophy,” he said.

Having been signed on until the end of the season, Coyle didn't want to discuss the topic of his future at the club. He said, “I would like to believe they (owners) like me and want me to stay on. We will have a chat later. But I don’t think it's the right time for me to answer that because tonight, my feelings are with the players, particularly the young players. They have put so much into this and have been a joy to watch. I really feel for them.”

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