Mendy: If we don’t win, it doesn’t mean we lose!

"We have five games. So we look at Kolkata next. If we cannot win, we should look to draw. Now the target is close. We have three home games. I hope the crowd turns up and powers us."

Bernard Mendy's Chennaiyin FC lie second from bottom in the ISL table.   -  PTI

In football, the importance of a draw is often understated. At most times, it’s considered two points lost and not necessarily one point gained. But in a league as tight as the Indian Super League (ISL) it can potentially make or break a season.

“Sometimes, when you can’t win the game, you don’t lose the game,” says Chennaiyin FC’s French defender Bernard Mendy. In his club’s context, it acquires an added importance. Last year, in the middle phase of the league, the team went on an unbeaten run of seven games. More importantly it had four draws in that, laying the perfect foundation for a late flourish and thereby carrying the side into the playoffs.

This year, the side has lost five of its nine matches and drawn just one. As a result it’s now languishing second from bottom with just 10 points.

“When you see the games, against NorthEast, the way we conceded two goals in two minutes. I think if we had had more experience we wouldn’t have conceded that. May be we could have drawn and taken one point.”

The ability to do this is what Mendy feels is the key difference from last season. “Last year we had more experience to do that. We had Mikael Silvestre and Eric Djemba Djemba. Now we have more quality. Players are young and strong.”

So is more quality tough to manage then? “Yes, sometimes.” Mendy says. “It isn't an excuse,” he quickly adds. “Because when we played Pune, we could have drawn that game but we won. So we need to get the balance right.”

That balance is what every manager dreams of and the one in Marco Materazzi, among the more pragmatic of the lot, is no different. Though, his constant tinkering so far, both to get the balance right as well as help players recover, hasn’t paid the right dividend.

“Sometimes it’s like this,” says Mendy. “Look at Chelsea! We just need to keep working and have belief.”

“We have five games. So we look at Kolkata next. If we cannot win, we should look to draw. Now the target is close. We have three home games. I hope the crowd turns up and powers us.”