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‘Not talking about new signings’ – Chennaiyin coach Csaba Laszlo backs forwards Jakub Sylvestr and Isma

The 59-year-old has stressed on his zeal to develop the likes of Lallianzuala Chhangte, Rahim Ali and Deepak Tangri at Chennaiyin…

Chennai FC coach Csaba Laszlo stands firm behind under-fire striker Jakub Sylvestr ahead of Chennaiyin’s Indian Super League (ISL) encounter against ATK Mohun Bagan on Tuesday.

The Slovakian forward has just one goal to his name in seven appearances but to the relief of the manager, there have been others who have been stepping up at the right moments to do the job. Lallianzuala Chhangte became the team’s sixth different goal scorer against East Bengal and the manager is happy that his team is not reliant on anyone goal-scorer. 

“Jakub Sylvestr is very different. You can say that he is missing chances but he is always involved in goals. He has been creating chances and given two assists. Isma (Esmael Goncalves) has also missed one or two very good chances. I don’t talk about new signings because I am really hoping that Isma comes back (from injury) physically and mentally stronger.

“Normally, every big team has not just one goal scorer – you also have players helping from the right, left and even from the centre. This is also our strategy and on the other side, we have missed a lot of chances. It’s incredible the number of chances we create but I’m happy for the Indian goal scorers like Ali, Chhangte and [Anirudh] Thapa.

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“We are working in different directions. We don’t think about the position of players. Even from set-pieces, we had some good opportunities for Eli (Sabia) and [Enes] Sepovic. I hope they score in the next games. Generally, it’s important to have different goal scorers,” the Hungarian coach explained.

Chennaiyin have been creating chances but their conversion rate has been dismal. They have attempted 103 shots but only seven of them have nestled into the net. Chhangte has been getting into good goal scoring positions but is not being able to convert and Laszlo is working with the forward to improve his finishing. 

“Sometimes it is up to the player’s ability to make decisions. It’s not easy to create chances, especially at the highest level. You need to take risks in many cases and every team wants to score.

“In the beginning, I have seen that in every game, Chhangte comes in positions to score so I began to work with him individually. I told him basic things like ‘You have to keep your head up, you don’t need to focus on the ball’. After scoring in the last match, Chhangte came to me and said ‘thank you’. I thought this was the biggest compliment for me in my time in India. Even with Ali or Thapa, these players need not just confidence but to know how to make decisions.”

Rahim Ail, FC Goa vs Chennaiyin

The Chennaiyin tactician wants to use young players like Rahim Ali and Deepak Tangri more in the first team as he is impressed by their quality on the field. 

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“Rahim is a player who I think, he doesn’t know how talented he is. He needs a lot of guidance. I have worked with many players who have talent but my biggest part is to try to lift him and explore his talent.

“He (Tangri) can be a very important piece of the puzzle. I was surprised by him and Ali in training and slowly they will be introduced more and more into the team. They are very close to be in the team all the time.”

Csaba Laszlo, Mumbai City vs Chennaiyin

Laszlo agreed that Roy Krishna can change the complexion of a match single-handedly and Chenaiyin will have to remain on their toes to contain the striker. 

“I had a similar question [asked] before the game against Goa (on the kind of threat Igor Angulo would pose). I try to prepare the team against the opponent and not one or two players but it’s true that we have to keep our eyes open for the most dangerous players. He (Krishna) is one of them but generally ATK [Mohun Bagan] is a very compact team allowing the other team to dominate the game because they have good offensive players who know how to score goals. 

“It’s a question if we play a little bit deeper or play a bit more out. Generally, we have to find the right mix but for me it’s also important for my team to play very close to each other. This is what we try to do all the time. Every game you make some mistakes or one or two players miss chances but the other [player] must be ready to help each other because together you can win a game.

“Even we have individual like Rafa (Rafael Crivellaro), Chhangte, Thapa, I hope also the strikers like Jakub (Sylvestr) or Ali who are capable to change the game in a positive way for us. On the other side, they have gaps that we need to close but with Deepak and Memo we have players who are capable of this,” he explained. 

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Chennaiyin will be playing two matches in four days and the 56-year old coach is concerned about the recovery of his players. 

“The biggest problem for me is time. After the game against East Bengal (on Sunday), we don’t even have a complete day for training. We had a recovering day, maybe a small training for tactics and the next day you have to play. So you don’t even have two or three days. So for this reason, ATK [Mohun Bagan] for example have an advantage because this team has been staying together (core of players retained) with the same coach and same ideology,” he observed.


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