Having suffered two consecutive defeats, including an embarrassing 0-2 loss to NorthEast United in their first ISL home game, Delhi Dynamos will have to regroup themselves when they take on newcomers Jamshedpur FC.
The Dynamos began their campaign with a win against FC Pune City but then suffered losses against Bengaluru FC and NorthEast United and are now among the bottom-two on the standings with three points from as many matches.
They had overwhelming possession in the match against NorthEast but could create very few goal-scoring chances. The absence of Uruguayan forward Matias Mirajbe and Sena Ralte was felt in that match, their first at home this season.
Both Mirajbe and Ralte will still not be fit for tomorrow but head coach Miguel Angel Portugal was not unduly worried.
“Ralte and Matias are not ready yet and they will not play tomorrow. They will need another week,” Portugal said.
“But we have 22-23 players in the squad. It is not just about one player and we need nearly half of them only for a match,” he added.
Young Lallianzuala Chhangte — who starred in Dynamos’ lone win against Pune — was brought on from the bench in the previous match and Portugal said he may start tomorrow.
“It is possible. We play so many matches in a short space of time so we need to make full use of the squad,” he said.
He attributed Dynamos’ defeat to NorthEast to individual errors both in defence and attack.
“We made too many individual errors in defence as well as in attack. We had three to four goal-scoring opportunities but then we made mistakes at the back. And that is a problem. For me, you need to score one at least one goal more than the opponent. I need that one goal (more) and that is my philosophy,” said the Spaniard.
“I like the way we played at Pune in our opening match. That is the way I want to see from my players.”
Portugal said Jamshedpur have a solid defence and his players will have to find ways to breach it.
“Their defence is very good. He (Jamshedpur coach Steve Coppell) does not like to concede goals while I like to score a goal more. It is a confrontation of philosophies and that it what the competition is all about.”
Jamshedpur FC have not netted a goal so far having played out goal-less draws with their three earlier opponents, but head coach Steve Coppell was not worried. Rather, he praised his players.
“For a young team that has never played in ISL before, three clean sheets is a great achievement. Obviously, we would love to score. We do not go on to the field thinking we will not score but we are playing against some good quality sides, who have played a lot more ISL football and have more experience.”
Coppell, who guided Kerala Blasters to runners-up finish last season, expressed displeasure over the playing surface at Jamshedpur.
“Our home game was on a difficult surface, so it is an achievement. We are desperate to score but from a coaching point of view, I would prefer a 0-0 result over a 4-4 scoreline. Obviously, we have to score to win games,” Coppell said.
Coppell said that the Dynamos’ recent dip in form would not mean that his team was in an advantageous position.
“As I always say, previous games don’t affect you too much. It does play in the back of mind the next day. But the previous games will have no effect on the result tomorrow,” said the former Manchester United player and Manchester City coach.