Ground: JRD Tata Sports Complex
Owner: Tata Steel
CEO: Mukul Choudhari
Head Coach: César Ferrando
League: Indian Super League
2017–18: Regular season: 5th (10 teams)
2017-18: ISL Playoffs: Did not qualify
Despite finishing fifth in their debut season, the JFC management opted to replace Steve Coppell with former Atletico Madrid manager Cesar Ferrando. Fernando advocates for attacking football and after the previous season, it shows the JFC management’s statement of intent.
JFC conceded only 18 goals, with 7 clean sheets. However, they struggled in attack, scoring only 16 goals. With the likes of Jerry Mawihmingthanga, Bikash Jairu, and Michael Soosairaj on the flanks, JFC will be a threat down the flanks. Of course, Tim Cahill will provide the leadership and the threat in attack. He will be also be accompanied by fresh recruit, Sergio Cidoncha.
The midfield is an issue for Jamshedpur given that only Mario Arques and Memo are established names, while the lack of an experienced Indian midfielder may find them wanting.
While the defence was their biggest strength in the previous season, the JFC management offloaded two big names in Anas Edathodika and Andre Bikey from the central defence. Raju Gaikwad and Sanjay Balmuchu have been drafted in to accompany Tiri at the back. Meanwhile, veteran goalkeeper Subrata Pal should help in keeping the last line of defence.
The preseason games in Spain saw the ‘Men of Steel’ produce satisfactory results.
Steve Coppell’s defensive approach was effective in making JFC competitive in the league, but it did not appeal to the purists. To address this issue, the team management has brought in attack-minded Cesar Ferrando, who has announced his preference for the short-passing game.
The Spaniard has had coaching experience for more than two decades for various teams, most notably Atletico Madrid in the 04-05 season. While he spent most of his time in Spain, Ferrando also spent a year as the coach of Johor Darul Ta’zim in Malaysia.
The Men of Steel will look to entertain the ISL fans with a newer brand of football. They are expected to score a glut of goals – surely more than the previous season. However, the change in style may not always work in favor of the young team.