A bad ISL season has motivated us, says Thapa

CHENNAI: After A Forgettable Indian Super League (ISL) Season Where They Finished Below With Record Lows, Chennaiyin FC Things Have Changed. They Reached The Final Of The Super Cup Where They Were Defeated FC Goa And Are Now On Top Of Group E Of The AFC Cup.

According To Midfielder Anirudh Thapa It Was Their Abysmal Performance In ISL That Motivated Them To Try Harder In Super Cup And AFC Cup." We Had A Very Bad Season And We Knew That We Needed To Turn Things Around. Enough And It Spurred Us On. We Changed A Few Things Here And There.

" First And Foremost We Changed Our Mentality. We Started To Believe That We Could Win Again. Thapa Said On The Sidelines Of A Meet And Greet Hosted By Nippon Paint.

Chennaiyin Now Have 7 Points From Three Games While Abahani Dhaka, Who Will Play On May 15, Are Second With Four Points." Leading The Group Is Great But Our Real Challenge Is Yet To Start. We Did Well At Home. But Now We Have To Play Away And It Will Be Tough. We Face Abahani In Dhaka Next Where The Ground Is Very Small And Hard. The Pitch In Nepal Where We Have To Play Manang Marshyangdi Is A Plastic Pitch And There Will Be Passionate Fans Screaming At Us. But We Have To Take Everything In Our Stride Because We Cannot Afford To Drop Points."

On A Personal Level Too, Things Have Looked Up For Thapa. From Being A Bench Warmer Just A Season Ago, Thapa Is Not Just A First XI Player For Chennaiyin But For India.

After Playing Back To Back Tournaments Through The Year, How Does A Young Player Like Him Deal With Fatigue?" Well I Am Tired Because I Am Playing Non-stop. I Haven't Had Time To Relax, Go Out With Friends Or Anything. Even If Physically I Am Fine, It Takes A Toll Mentally To Be Honest. I Can't Complain Because These Are My Formative Years And The More I Play, The More I Will Grow. I Am Also Aware That Getting Started At Both Club And National Level Is An Honor And Not Many Get It."