Goa, Nov 28: Both Odisha FC and Jamshedpur FC will have an opportunity to register their first three points of the season when they face off in the Hero Indian Super League season 7 at the Tilak Maidan here on Sunday.
Opening day defeats did not help start their 2020-21 campaign after a disappointing outing in the last edition. Both camps had targeted fresh beginnings with a new coaching team and new recruits. But for both Odisha and Jamshedpur, their first-round engagements returned defeats.
Odisha fell to a 0-1 defeat to Hyderabad FC with their former player Aridane Santana scoring against them. Jamshedpur boss Owen Coyle was thwarted by his former team Chennaiyin FC, in a 2-1 defeat. Both teams will know the importance of stopping the rut before it turns into an uncontrollable downward spiral.
Odisha will be concerned that they are yet to solve the defensive issues that plagued them last season, after looking shaky at the back against Hyderabad.
Their coach Stuart Baxter though says that there were tactical problems all over the pitch that he had identified and was looking to solve. “Tactically, the balance was wrong,” he said. “We ended up being very separated. We couldn’t get the ball up to the forward players. We need to relax a little bit more on the ball.”
The displays put in by Jamshedpur attackers Nerijus Valskis and Jackichand Singh mean that Odisha’s defence will likely have to be on their toes through the game. “We can defend with more personality and more control,” Baxter said. “I will be looking to improve the defending, but it will not be the first thing that you automatically go to after that sort of result.”
Coyle lost more than three points in the previous game with defenders Peter Hartley and Narender Gahlot going off injured. Both players are doubtful for the game while David Grande will miss out. Coyle will also be concerned by the lack of cohesion that plagued his side often during their opening fixture. But he believes Jamshedpur will get better as they go on.
“Jamshedpur FC is a new team effectively. There has been a whole lot of changes from last year. But, there is no doubt that we will get better as we go on. The harder we work, the more we will improve,” said Coyle.
“We will look to start the game better, try and take control of it. We have to try and win those valuable three points, because three points can push you five or six places up in the league.”