ISL 4 promises attacking football; goals galore

Mumbai: 12th November 2017 : In 183 matches over last three Hero Indian Super League seasons, eight clubs have scored a total of 460 goals at an average of 2.51 goals per match. But if the conversation at this season's ISL Media Day is anything to go by, then this number is certain to increase. The head coaches who spoke at the event today in Mumbai were clear that they want their teams to play attacking football - and were hardly secretive of their desire to entertain their fans.

Kerala Blasters' assistant coach Thangboi Singto agreedthat their head coach Rene Meulensteen would impart a lot of facets from histime as Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson's assistant, and newentrants Sergio Lobera (FC Goa), Ranko Popovic (FC Pune City) and John Gregory(Chennaiyin FC) made it clear that they would play to win, rather than choose apragmatic system. Mumbai City FC's Alexandre Guimarães said that this seasonwould see him "try some different styles" compared to last season'scompact approach which took the club to the top of the table, and BengaluruFC's Alberto Roca has already showed his ability to experiment in his one stintwith The Blues in the Hero I-League.


"I like my team to keep the ball, and bring itback when they lose it. I like quick passes and creative players and believethat the more you keep the ball, the less you have to run. I am steeped in theBarcelona style of football, so you can guess how my team will try toplay," said Lobera, who was in charge of the Barcelona youth teams from1997-2006. Pune City's Serbian head coach Popovic was in a jolly mood in hisfirst interaction with the Indian media, and it seems that he would want histeam to play in an equally expressive manner.


"Football should be played to entertain. Itshould be played with joy. It should be attractive. Of course, you have to besmart within the limit of the result, so my team will also be ready to tacklehard and fight till the end according to the situation. But to ask my team toplay in one way, and for them to execute it, is completely different. Let'stake it one match at a time," the former centre-back said. His approachwas personified by the presence of last year's Golden Boot winner Marcelinho(Marcelo Leite Pereira), who joined Pune City after his incredible performancesfor Delhi Dynamos last season (10 goals, 5 assists).


"Football is happiness, and we want to play witha lot of positivity," the Brazilian said. If Pune's players can producetheir head coach's vision, then their fans are in for a treat.Another change invision will be seen at Chennaiyin FC. The club will see a change after threeyears under the tutelage of World Cup winner Marco Materazzi. Their new managerJohn Gregory said that he wants to follow in the footsteps of Italian coach,but also wants to prove that English managers will not play the stereotypicalEnglish way.


"The general opinion attached to English managersis that they will play the long ball. But I want my team to play properfootball. There will be no shunting of the ball to the forward from behind. Wewant to keep the ball and and play with style. We have the players to do thatand Chennaiyin are a club that is associated with creating stars out of unknownplayers. So there will be a few surprises this season as well," he said.Gregory has managed 10 clubs in a storied career which also saw him play forEngland. With the Hero ISL transforming to a longer league, all these managerswill get enough time to implement their philosophies.And if they manage to do so, it will certainly be goals galore.v

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