What else can we do, but fight: Sunil Chhetri

The 31-year-old, who has combined well with Haitian Sony Norde upfront, said what else his team can do, but fight again.

Having played for many teams in his chequered career, Sunil Chhetri said he has had to make adjustments.   -  The Hindu

FC Goa has scored eight goals and conceded seven, and yet Brazilian coach Zico expressed satisfaction at the performance of his team ahead of the game against Mumbai City FC in the Indian Super League match at the D.Y.Patil Stadium on Sunday. While the city’s sports loving people would hope for a ticket for the India-South Africa final and fifth match at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday, the football faithful in small numbers would still try to motivate the two teams at a venue some 40 kms from South Mumbai. FC Goa is on top of the table with 10 points and the home team is placed at the bottom with four points with a victory against Delhi Dynamos in the previous match giving it three valuable points. India’s start striker Sunil Chhetri playing his second ISL match scored two goals and made it memorable.

But the 31-year-old who has combined well with Haitian Sony Norde upfront, said what else his team can do, but fight again. “It was the same situation before the match against Dynamos; we had one point from three games. We are really happy to get the win (against Dyamos). Very honestly, we were kind of under pressure losing two games in the first three and drawing one. Thank god everyone gave a reaction which was important. More than my goals, it was good to see everyone fighting. I have always believed that if the team comes together and if the players fight as a unit, results will come. Thank god, we got the result we wanted. Now it’s very important that we keep it up. We have learned from the last game. We have to rectify mistakes and that’s the only way forward for us. The whole team has to come together, not just me and Norde.’’

Having played for many teams in his chequered career, Chhetri said he has had to make adjustments. When asked how different it has been to play with six overseas players, he explained: “I am someone who has switched lot of clubs. I have to adjust to the new coach, new owner and players. It does not matter, whether the players are Indian or foreign; at the end of the day, as you go to a new team, you have to adjust. The FC Bengaluru is like a family for me; I have played for it for two years. It was my second ISL game (against Dynamos). The coaches think differently and I have had to adjust. They want you in different positions and want to do different jobs. It’s the same with I-League, ISL and the national team.”

Chhetri did not venture deeply into making comparisons between the I-League and ISL. “There are some differences, I don’t want to sit here and crib that this is what the I-League has and does not have and what the ISL has and doesn’t. But the ISL is huge, the magnitude of it with the people coming to see matches and in terms of people watching on TV. You can see (Kerala Blasters) Mehtab Hossain’s nostrils on HD TV.”

Mumbai City FC coach Oscar Bruzon said that his team will have to find the right combination and hinted at head coach and marquee player Nicolas Anelka taking the field. His team committed seven fouls against the Dynamos. Asked how his team would approach the game against FC Goa he said, “It will be a tough game, we are going to play the current leaders of the ISL. They have done very good work in the first games. We also played well against Delhi. So form tomorrow we want to be back on track. We want to play tough and control the game. We want to play the game at the maximum level while attacking and defending. We want to be fresh, quick and sharp while attacking and compact, united and committed while defending.”

Zoco said he is happy with the way his team has shaped after the 4-0 thrashing against Chennaiyin FC. “I am very satisfied with the team’s performance. We have ten points, very different from last year at this stage of the tournament. I don’t how many points, probably we had 4,3 or two. My team is doing a great job and we want to carry on this way. The match was not designed to be 4-0 against Chennaiyin; it could have been 4-2, one goal was disallowed and and a penalty was not given to us.”

Responding to a question of playing with a compact midfield, Zico said: “We have played with a solid midfield and scored five goals. We had opportunities to score 5,6,7 goals against North East United; our philosophy is the same, play attacking football. I can use the players in different formations.”