Chennaiyin FC boss Thomas Brdaric stated that he was “delighted” to draw 1-1 against Kerala Blasters FC in Week 12 of the ISL 2022-23 season.
The two teams clashed at the ‘Marina Arena’ on Monday (December 19) in a tense Southern Derby. Sahal Abdul Samad put the Tuskers ahead in the first half, but Vincy Barretto’s 48th-minute strike saw them share the spoils.
After the game, Brdaric stated that he felt the tie was a victory because the team came back from a goal down. He said in response to a question Sportskeeda:
“I’m happy that we bounced back with a good mentality and effort. We played against a team that has won the last five games, not a bad team… Today, the point feels like a win.”
It was an entertaining match from start to finish, with both teams giving their fans plenty to cheer for. Brdaric praised the show, made even bigger by the cheering fans, saying:
“We have to improve, of course, but today – with the situation, with the fans, with the opponents – it was a great event. I’m very proud of the fans, the atmosphere, that’s what we need.”
The Chennaiyin coach praised his side’s attacking prowess as they scored their 20th goal of the campaign. However, he criticized Kerala Blasters’ goal defense and said:
“We scored only one goal, at home, we can score more. But the good thing is that we know we can score all the time. In defense it was almost good, but how we conceded the first goal was too simple starting from our forwards, they were not organized and left a hole in the middle .
“A team like Kerala will take advantage of that. But we talked at half-time that we needed to change the pressure, be more aggressive.”
Nasser El Khayati starts in season: Chennaiyin FC coach Thomas Brdaric
Thomas Brdaric took a call that confused many fans when picking Chennaiyin FC’s XI for their match against Kerala Blasters FC. Nasser El Khayati, fresh off a hat-trick against NorthEast United FC, dropped to the bench with rumors suggesting he was injured.
Brdaric confirmed that El Khayati was not fully fit in his post-match press conference, saying:
“Nasser made the difference for us and when he’s fit, he’s a starting player. Unfortunately, he had something with his health and he couldn’t start today.
“Yesterday he didn’t train at all. In eight days (after the last game), he didn’t train hard, just like that. [Anirudh] Thapa and Jiteshwor [Singh].”
El Khayati, Thapa and Jiteshwor came off the bench for Chennaiyin on Monday and helped them earn a point as the Blasters piled on the pressure. The latter pair finally made a comeback after missing several games due to injury.
Brdaric also stated that for the first time this season it was a big positive to have a team that fits together very well and said:
“It’s great – all the coaches love that. The boys, believe me, it’s been hard work so far.
“The players must understand that if they are in the team, on the field, they must deliver. In the last 10 games, we have shown some fluctuations, the statistics are balanced. We know how and where we are. to improve, so let’s continue.”
The Chennaiyin coach said that the team will remain humble going forward, and confirmed that they need to work in the press. At times, Kerala seemed to bypass Marina Machans front line of defence, opening up spaces for them to exploit. Regarding this, Brdaric said:
“I love attacking football and creating chances. But on the other side, I demand pressure. It’s hard work – which striker likes to play against the ball? Ask [Lionel] Messi or [Cristiano] Ronaldo But we are a humble group and a big family. is [The team enviroment] very positive.”
The draw against Kerala Blasters saw Chennaiyin FC finish seventh in the ISL 2022-23 standings with 14 points from 10 matches. They next visit Mumbai City FC on December 24.