Chennaiyin FC head coach Owen Coyle rued his side’s missed chances in their 1-3 defeat against ATK in the Indian Super League summit clash that cost them a third title.
Chennaiyin failed to complete their magical turnaround in this ISL with a fairytale ending but Coyle claimed his side played better than ATK in the final at the Fatorda stadium, which was held without spectators on Saturday due to COVID-19 pandemic.
“Goals change games. We had a few easy chances in initial phase but could not take them. No one should tell me they (ATK) were the better team. My disappointment is for how much my team put into the game. But ultimately if you don’t take your chances, you give away soft goals,” he said.
“We were the team that played all the football. To be fair to them they stuck to their task. They made it tough for us by banging the ball forward. The spoils went to ATK so all the very best to them. We were the team who kept pushing on, but they were clinical and we were not,” Coyle added.
The 53-year-old Irish coach said ATK must be relieved to have won the final and the title given that Chennaiyin had more possession and goal-scoring chances.
“We had almost 70% possession but ultimately if you don’t take your chances, it will come back to haunt you. There were two things from our perspective. One, we were not clinical enough with our chances and second, I felt ATK’s last two goals were certainly avoidable,” he said.
“I think ATK will be very relieved to get away with the trophy given what we brought to the game. But that is how football is at the highest level.”
Coyle praised ATK goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharja for his crucial saves that thwarted his team.
“However, I have to say ATK’s goal in the first half was a wonderful finish and credit to them. The man of the match for me was their goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharja. He was truly outstanding. I have to give credit to ATK for winning,” he said.
Despite the disappointing stumble in the final hurdle, it has been a season to remember for the Marina Machans who made it to the summit clash after languishing near the bottom of the table midway into the season.
Coyle took up the reigns of the team in December last year after John Gregory was sacked after winning just one game out of the first six – against tail-enders Hyderabad FC. Under Coyle, Chennaiyin FC suffered only two defeats in 14 matches before the final against ATK.
“My feelings go out to my group of players, because those players, particularly the young players, they have done so much. They have been a joy to watch. I really feel for them. They love their club. I feel disappointed for them. It is a tough night to lose and it is important to recognise the players who have done very well,” he added.