Chennaiyin FC coach Marco Materazzi, on Friday, said that he has enough confidence in the current squad to defend their title in the ISL's third edition which starts on October 1. Materazzi also said that he and his team are not concerned about winning the Fair Play award any time soon.
Absence of 2014 Golden Boot award winner Elano Blumer, who has rejoined Brazilian club Santos FC, or the non presence of star striker John Stiven Mendoza, who is currently plying his trade with New York City FC, does not seem to have had any impact on Chennayin FC's confidence of defending their title, according to their coach Marco Materazzi. Speaking in an event on Thursday, ahead of the ISL's opening gala, the Italian said,
“We are going to defend the title with or without Elano and Mendoza. I have faith in my players and we are going to give all we can to do it again.”
When asked whether the crowd could look forward to seeing the local players N. Mohanraj and Dhanpal Ganesh play, Materazzi said, “I don’t care where the players come from. Whoever deserves to play will play.”
This time, in a novel move, Chennaiyin has roped in five youngsters from the All India Football Federation Academy, and Materazzi has said that they are all ready to play.
After last season's final ended in an argument between the players and referees, the champions found themselves at the bottom of the ‘Fair Play award’ section, but Materazzi said that the award does not a concern him at all.
“The only thing I cannot guarantee to my players and anyone is that we are not going to win the discipline award. Last year we were the team which scored most number of goals (32) and won the title. If you are looking for a coach who wants to win the discipline award, just tell me and I am going to leave,” he said.