Indian Super League defending champions Chennaiyin FC were handed a thrashing by the Delhi Dynamos in their first home match of the season on Thursday. The Super Machans manager Marco Materazzi was not at all happy with his team's performance and said during the post match press conference that things couldn't have been worse.
The Chennaiyin management staff won't have much trouble in finding what went wrong for them on Thursday because nothing went their way. However, there is one area that Materazzi and his coaching staff will be very much worried about, the Chennaiyin FC defence. The Delhi Dynamos did a very good job in exposing each and every weakness of their opposition's defence.
Lack of pace at the back an issue for Chennaiyin
The lack of pace was one of the main problems the team's defence had against Delhi. The defending champions' back four, which consisted of Mehrajuddin Wadoo, Bernard Mendy, John Arne Riise and Nallappan Mohanraj, was not fast enough to catch up with Delhi's dynamite front three.
Delhi Dynamos' Indian winger Kean Lewis completely kept Chennai's Mehrajuddin Wadoo off the game while Marcelo Leite Pereira was getting past Nallappan Mohanraj rather easily on the other wing. Even Chennai's experienced centre-back pairing of Bernard Mendy and John Arne Riise had a very tough night out on Thursday.
Other than not having much pace, Chennai's defence did not have any chemistry. In several parts of the game, we saw one of the Super Machans defender getting caught off position, leaving the other defenders exposed. When questioned about this in the post match press conference, manager Marco Materazzi said that the defence as a whole was suffering because the team was not playing as a unit.
Even during the first half of the game captain Bernard Mendy, John Arne Riise and Marco Materazzi had heated discussions, which seemed to be regarding the team's defensive stability.
Goalkeeping issues for Chennaiyin
The numerous mistakes made by the Chennai defence, especially by goalkeeper Duwayne Kerr and defender Bernard Mendy, should also be a cause of worry for Materazzi. Kerr's poor decision making resulted in Delhi winning a penalty, which ended up in the back of the net. The Jamaican goalkeeper was very shaky throughout the game and the Chennaiyin management staff might need to turn to their second goalkeeper Karanjit Singh
Bernard Mendy was nowhere near captain quality on Thursday. The Frenchman made several poor decisions and was shaky on and off the ball. The centre-back's passes were not accurate and his concentration during the game seemed to be off.
Former Liverpool player Riise left his teammates exposed several times during the game. Chennai local boy Nallappan Mohanraj did not have a good game against Atletico de Kolkata last week, but he too struggled against Delhi The 27-year-old was easily dribbled past by Marcelo Leite Pereira and had a nightmare game overall.
Marco Materazzi came to the defence of the former Atletico de Kolkata player when he was questioned during the post match press conference about Mohanraj's two bad games. The Italian said that the full back needs more time to gel into the team and also a single player cannot be blamed for the team's loss.
"Maybe Mohanraj needs more time to integrate in the team, but I think we can't blame a single player. When we win, we win together, when we lose we lose together,“ the former Inter Milan player said.
No midfield magic
Chennai's midfielders Hans Mulder and Raphael Augusto were making things even more complicated for the team's defence. The two foreigners often went for the same ball and left lots of empty spaces for the Delhi players. There was clearly a lack of communication between the two because they often clashed together in the centre of the field and had several confusions.
Overall the Chennai defence was very poor against Delhi Dynamos on Thursday and manager Materazzi will be having a very close look on it. Gianluca Zambrotta's Delhi had a clear game plan and the Super Machans were not able to handle it.
Sportskeeda also caught up with Chennaiyin FC captain Bernard Mendy after the game. Even though he disagreed with the referee's decision to give Delhi the penalty, which paved the way to the away team's first goal, the Frenchman admitted that Chennai made it easy for their opponents to play. The former ParisSaint-Germain defender also added that his team didn't play like champions and needs to work more.
"If you see the goal, it is a mistake. The penalty I don't think is a real penalty. I saw in TV but I don't think it is a penalty. And after for the third goal we let them to play. So when you let them to play, it is more easy they will score. Today, like I said before, we didn't play like a team. We didn't play like Champions. So we must do more and we will do that in future.”