Chennaiyin FC coach-cum-player Marco Materazzi today said his side can still qualify for the final of Hero Indian Super League football tournament though he conceded the difficult task ahead when his team takes on Kerala Blasters in the second leg of semifinals here tomorrow.
After the morale of Chennaiyin FC players was dented by Kerala Blasters' 3-0 win in the first leg in Kochi, Materazzi was guarded in his response when asked about tomorrow's match.
"It will be very difficult but we believe we can do it.
The first half will be very important because if we can get a goal or two, we will put Kerala Blasters under pressure," Materazzi said at the pre-match press conference here.
Asked why Chennaiyin have not won a match since qualifying for the semifinals, Materazzi said, "At the start of the tournament Chennaiyin was not fancied by anyone but as the league stage progressed, it was clear to everyone that we are a top team.
"So maybe in the latter stages the opponents raised their game further and adopted different strategy to play against us," the 2006 World Cup winner Italian said.
On the importance of not conceding goals to Kerala tomorrow, he said, "Yes that will be crucial so we have to play as a team from the first to the last whistle. We have to defend from the front and take whatever chances comes our way.
It is still only halftime in the two-legged tie so anything is still possible."
Kerala Blasters, since arriving at the city late in the evening, decided to opt out of training.
Chennaiyin defender Mikael Silvestre talked about the importance of having the right balance in the attack and defence.
"It will be vital to have the right balance because we can't just go out there and think we will score three easily.
We have to show compactness while defending and of course create as many chances as possible," he said.
"The most important thing tomorrow will be to produce a performance because we know Kerala Blasters are expected to go through and have everything to lose whereas we have everything to gain. We have to fight for the 90 minutes first and then if needed beyond that also. We have to show again that we are a team," said the former France international.