ISL 2020-21: Monroy confident of Jamshedpur FC changing trend to make playoffs

Jamshedpur FC has never reached the playoffs of the Indian Super League, but Spanish midfielder Aitor Monroy feels the current squad will change that trend.

Aitor Monroy

"We are here to be in the playoffs. We are eager to change the trend this year. Once we are in the top-four, we fight. In the history of JFC, this has never happened and it is high time we change this," says Jamshedpur FC's Aitor Monroy.   -  Twitter @Jamshedpur FC

Jamshedpur FC's Spanish midfielder Aitor Monroy didn't mince words when he spoke about the side's intentions going into the seventh season of the Indian Super League (ISL 2020-21).

The introduction of Kolkata giants ATK Mohun Bagan FC and SC East Bengal has brought further excitement to the ISL, but coach Owen Coyle's boys seem unperturbed.

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"We are here to be in the playoffs. We are eager to change the trend this year. Once we are in the top-four, we fight. In the history of JFC, this has never happened and it is high time we change this. After that we analyse game by game," said Monroy, who played every minute of the Red Miners' ISL campaign last season.

Jamshedpur had a dismal outing though, finishing eighth in the 10-team (now 11-team) tournament. But Monroy is confident that the side is already en route to exorcising its demons from last term.

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"The past is gone and we have to live in the present. We have to show positive energy and passion on the field. We need to back ourselves to begin the season on a high. We moved out of quarantine only a few days ago and are training very hard," said the 33-year-old.

 

Nine promising graduates from Tata Football Academy have made the cut for the senior side this year and Monroy, having shared the field with them during the pre-season training sessions, said he was quite impressed with what he saw.

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"I know the guys from the academy and we have been training with them on the field. They work hard and are good guys. Each one has his own good qualities. They are hungry to improve as well," he said.

'Valskis-Coyle come with match-winning mentality'

The biggest boost the Men of Steel received this season were the arrivals of coach Coyle and Lithuanian striker Nerijus Valskis, who won the Golden Boot last season, from runner-up Chennaiyin FC.

Lithuanian striker Nerijus Valskis scored 15 goals to win the Golden Boot last season.   -  Prashant Nakwe

 

"They come with a big match-winning mentality. The coach has the passion to win games. That is very important. I know Valskis from before. He has the ability to score goals. For a team to have a goal scorer like this presents good vibes," Monroy said.

Monroy's countryman and forward David Grande was of a similar opinion and heaped praise on Valskis. "Valskis will have an important role in the team. I am looking forward to having a good season and will also look to score combining with Valskis. We are a good duo and we understand each other," said the 29-year-old who found himself on the scoresheet alongside Mobashir Rahman during the side's 3-2 loss to FC Goa in a friendly fixture on Sunday.

 

'Jackichand a key player for us'

Play-maker Jackichand Singh's pace will be crucial for Jamshedpur, feels Monroy. He said Jackichand has the capability to imbibe the winning mentality among the young players, especially after having played an instrumental role in FC Goa's League Winners Shield triumph last season.

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"Jacki has played big games and is a player with experience. He is very professional and all young players will follow his lead and that is very important. He will be a key player for us. Amarjit [Singh Kiyam], [Laldin]liana [Renthlei] will look forward to growing with him."

'Lima our terminal player in last 50 metres'

JFC also roped in central midfielder Alex Lima, who can double up as a left winger. "He is a very important player in the middle. In the last 50 metres, he will be the terminal player for us. He is very good with his left foot on the ball. He plays with passion and also scores some very good freekicks and corners," said Monroy.

Aitor Monroy and Alex Lima

Aitor Monroy and Alex Lima during a training session with Jamshedpur FC.   -  Twitter @JamshedpurFC

 

Coyle's side kicks off its ISL 2020-21 campaign against the coach's former side Chennaiyin FC on November 24.

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