Jamshedpur FC head coach Owen Coyle was happy to have finally put smiles on the faces of the club's players and management after a massive 1-0 win over Bengaluru FC at the Fatorda in Match No.41 of Indian Super League (ISL) 2020-21 on Monday. Stephen Eze scored the header in the 79th minute off Aniket Jadhav's diverted cross and Rehenesh TP made four big saves to help Jamshedpur record the win.
Coyle was happy with the win and felt his players totally deserved it after putting their bodies on the lines in the last few days with one game after another. Jamshedpur have played nine games so far and are placed third in the points table. Jamshedpur began their campaign on November 24 against Chennaiyin FC and have played nine games in 34 days.
In 38 days of the ISL so far, Jamshedpur FC have played nine games, Bengaluru FC, NorthEast United FC and FC Goa eight and the rest of the teams have played seven matches. According to Coyle, no other team has had as punishing a schedule as Jamshedpur and on top of that, refereeing decisions have gone against them that Coyle feels has cost them games.
"Anybody who knows me knows that I am always smiling and positive. I wasn't smiling the other night (after match against FC Goa) because we know what happened (a goal of theirs was disallowed wrongly) but we can today. There were a few things in the first half but we did well in the second half. We should be top of the table with what has happened to Jamshedpur FC - we have played 9 games in 33 days (sic) - no other team has had that and to put a smile on everyone's faces is huge," Coyle said to the broadcasters in the post-match show.
Coyle said his players are playing with niggles and tiredness and for all they were doing on the pitch, he felt they deserved credit.
"Bengaluru is a very good team with big, strong players. My disappointment in the first half was we didn't get under the ball enough and left outselves open for the counter-attack. In the second half, we were much better. We put more crosses than anyone in the league. Peter (Hartley) is playing with injection, Dinliana came off injured, what this group of players have done is exceptional and they deserve credit for that," Coyle further said.
In the post-match show, Hartley shared that he has a niggle but it was nothing serious. He said he was ready for the game and took a couple of injections to be fit and fine for the pitch. "Happy with the win but not happy with the first half performance, I think we took a bit of time to get started. But it's a good win against a big team like Bengaluru," he said.
Hartley described his relationship with Coyle and said the team's ability to stay positive today was a big plus.
"I have never worked with the gaffer before but I have played against his teams. I have a good relationship with him. We have to figure out a few things on the pitch and I feel that is my responsibility. The manager can only do so much from the sidelines.
"The Goa game was a bit of a kick in the teeth, to have a goal disallowed and concede so late. We had the lead, could have been Bengaluru with the chances they had but we stayed positive."