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Thursday, April 25, 2024

We have to be really proud of Team’s performance: Cooper

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Jamshedpur: Jamshedpur FC interim head coach Scott Cooper took pride in his team’s first win of the season as they narrowly defeated Hyderabad FC with a scoreline of 1-0 in their third match of the Indian Super League (ISL) Season 2023-24 at the JRD Tata Sports Complex in Jamshedpur on Thursday night.

Having secured a draw against East Bengal FC and suffered an unfortunate narrow loss against Kerala Blasters FC, JFC had yet to win a match. Their hectic schedule had already drained the players’ energy even before the match began.

However, a sublime free-kick from Rei Tachikawa in the 76th minute secured all three points in an extremely entertaining 90 minutes of play. Despite having only 37% ball possession, Jamshedpur FC emerged victorious, courtesy of Tachikawa’s brilliance.

“I think it was a hard game for us because (this was our) third game in 10-11 days. And because we played like a pressing game with a lot of energy, you could see we looked tired. I mean we’re lucky we didn’t get big injuries here. And so we, I think we have to be really proud of the team’s performance,” stated Cooper in the post-match press conference.

“Of course, at half-time, we had to make slight changes in tactics because I could see that we couldn’t press as much in this game due to the lack of energy levels. So, we regrouped at half-time, and in the second half, you could see what happened – they didn’t really have any shots on goal. However, the way we were playing in the first half, because of our energy levels, it seemed like we might lose the game,” he added.

Tachikawa made his debut for Jamshedpur FC under Cooper’s management against Hyderabad FC. The Japanese attacker was impressive from the opening minute, linking well with Alen Stevanovic in attack. It was his moment of magic that made the difference on the night.

Praising Tachikawa’s brilliance, the Irish-English head coach said, “He’s got a great attitude. Everybody likes Rei because he’s just a great guy. He’s punctual for training, works tirelessly during training sessions, and is a nice guy overall.”

“He’s a hard worker and is versatile, capable of playing in several positions. Tonight, we utilized Rei in two or three positions, as you may have noticed: down the middle, to the right, and in defensive midfield. He never complains; he simply does his job. He took about four or five shots tonight; although two or three were blocked, the free kick he delivered was of great quality,” Cooper said.

“I’m pleased for him because it’s rewarding when you have a guy who works so hard and never grumbles or complains. He consistently maintains a top-class attitude, and players like him deserve credit,” he added.

The 53-year-old provides a further update on Ritwik Das’ availability. Cooper expressed his excitement to have Ritwik Das back in the squad for JFC’s next match after the international break and believes he is the perfect fit for his style of play.

“We all know what Ritwik is capable of. He’s tailor-made for my type of system because he’s honest, hardworking, and talented, with a strong fighting spirit,” he added.

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