March 2, 2021

‘Organised, disciplined & innovative’ – What to expect from Csaba Laszlo’s Chennaiyin FC?

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The Hungarian coach hopes to have reinforcements in key positions as soon as possible…

Last year’s Indian Super League (ISL) finalists Chennaiyin FC are set to have a new man at the helm in the 2020-21 season after Csaba Laszlo was unveiled as their head coach last Sunday.

The 56-year-old coach is highly experienced and has travelled around the world, having been in charge of the Lithuanian and Ugandan national teams apart from clubs like Dundee United, Hearts and Ferencvaros.

The Hungarian succeeds Owen Coyle under whom the Marina Machans had a fairy tale sort of run to the final of the ISL while playing an attacking brand of football. As such, a lot of the chatter around Laszlo’s appointment was on what he will bring to the table as far as playing style is concerned.

Laszlo has already seen how the team performed during the 2019-20 season and feels that he might not tinker too much straightaway.

“I am a coach who has been around the world. So, I have to adapt to the circumstances of the team apart from the team adapting to my methods too. The team will stay together for almost six months which is good,” Laszlo told Goal.

“The team already has a style. They achieved a lot last season. The most important thing is that the players should understand me and vice versa. I don’t want to change too much. It might be the wrong way. But we will change certain things that need to be changed but we will keep the good things,” he added.

However, organisation and discipline are two characteristics Laszlo says he wants his team to have. The former Hungary assistant coach, however, explains that the insistence on discipline does not mean his team will sacrifice creativity and spontaneity in attack.

“Generally, I’m a coach who wants discipline inside and outside the field. I want a team that will fight for every point in every game. My team will be organised and knows what they need to do. I also want my players to show creativity and innovation on the field.

“Of course, my tactical shape and style might differ according to different teams because we need to adapt at times.”

Laszlo has already identified the need to find reinforcements for Lucian Goian and Nerijus Valskis who had good seasons with the club last time out. Goian scored a few important goals as well while Valskis truly found his scoring boots under Coyle. The Lithuanian striker ended up scoring 15 goals and won the ISL Golden Boot before switching over to Jamshedpur FC.

The coach also feels the club needs to find someone in the mould of Andre Schembri who was an understated but key part of the attack last season. The Maltese forward retired from his professional career after the 2019-20 campaign.

“I took the opportunity to watch the games from last season. I know there were some key players. There was Goian who was the captain and leader. We have to replace him. We had a striker leave. We need a good goalscorer like Valskis.

“And we have to replace Schembri who was very important last season with his innovativeness and goals even when he came from the bench. He was a player who sacrificed himself for the team. We have to find such a player.”

The coach was highly appreciative of the club management and feels they are moving in a focused manner in the transfer market. He feels that new additions should be secured soon.

“I think the reaction from the club was good when I spoke with them. The club is very professional. The owners and directors and staff members who were involved in this have done a professional job. We have to find replacements for players in the key positions. We are working on it  and I hope we can present some important names in one week.

“We are moving in a focused manner,” he added.