Head coach Thomas Brdaric urged his men to play fearlessly when Chennaiyin FC lock horns with Odisha FC in an all-important Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 fixture at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Thursday.
Currently placed eighth on the points table with 17 points from 15 games, Chennaiyin will require to make the most of their remaining five matches in order to stay in contention for the playoffs.
"Tomorrow is a decisive day for Chennaiyin; we need everyone in full power and with maximum motivation. In the game, especially in the first half, we should not invite opponents to score, and everybody should understand their position," Brdaric said while addressing the media at the pre-match press conference on Wednesday, as quoted by a press release from Chennaiyin.
"I like risky football because offensive football is always risky. The approach about how we want to stay in our back is also important, and we are working on that," added the coach.
The 48-year-old German tactician also gave fans some good news that the in-form Abdenasser El Khayati is fit and hinted at a possible start for the Dutchman. The midfielder has netted seven goals in eight games of the ongoing season.
"We have everybody fit. Nasser can play an important role tomorrow, and I am happy that he can start," said Brdaric.
The Marina Machans fell short against Bengaluru FC in their last match. However, midfielder Julius Duker said the team has shrugged off the disappointment, and everyone is motivated for the upcoming games.
"It is not the time to think too much. We need to go game by game. We know how important the next games are," said Duker, who, with three assists, has been a key for the midfield so far this season.
Meanwhile, Josep Gombau's Odisha visit Chennai following two successive losses. Brdaric wants his players to approach the game with a high-intensity pressing to deny the opponent any scoring opportunity.
"In the last match, ATK [Mohun Bagan] showed pretty good pressing; they did not allow Odisha to create chances. It will be the same approach tomorrow with high-intensity pressing to reduce room for Odisha to exploit. I hope we implement that very well," he added.
Odisha escaped with a narrow win at home when these two faced each other earlier in the season. Head to head, these two sides have met seven times, with Chennaiyin and Odisha FC registering two wins each. Three matches ended in a draw. (ANI)