It turned out to be a disappointing first step at home in the Indian Super League for Chennaiyin FC on Thursday night as they were comprehensively beaten 3-1 by a very good Delhi Dynamos side coached by Italian great Gianluca Zambrotta.
The disappointment was evident in the face of Marco Materazzi, coach of Chennaiyin FC, as he faced the media after the game. "We didn't play well. I want to congratulate Delhi because they deserved to win”, conceded Materazzi straight up. The wide players of the Dynamos had the number of Chennaiyin’s full-backs, making it a very tough evening in the office for them.
Local lad Nallappan Mohanraj, in particular, struggled against Brazilian Marcelinho, but Materazzi was clear that the blame didn't lie at the feet of any one player while admitting to the youngster’s struggles. “Maybe Mohanraj needs more time to integrate with the team, but I think we can't blame a single player. When we win we win together, when we lose we lose together”, quipped Chennaiyin’s coach.
The Italian was particularly not happy at his side's intensity in the game pointing to the play in the closing stages of the match. “I think that we didn't have the in-depth passes, the hunger. There was a lack of hunger from the whole team. You could see that even when we were losing 3-1 Delhi had possession for three or four minutes (with no pressure). So, four days ago we were a good team from my point of view but now I think it couldn't have been worse than this”, explained a dejected Materazzi.
As bad as it went for Chennaiyin, in truth, the scoreline could have been a lot worse if the Dynamos had managed to put away all of their chances.
Chennaiyin were slow and turgid in their attack whereas their opponents were swifter and more nimble in getting to the ball. “Definitely, there was a lack of pace from the whole team. Since the level of the whole league has risen, every mistake you make you pay for it. So we actually did six, seven, eight pretty bad mistakes. We were lucky that the score was only 3-1”, said the Italian.
“Now it is my responsibility, at least for the next game, to show that we are going to fight. It is also the responsibility of the players but mostly mine and we will show that we can fight back", continued the Italian, as he looked ahead to the recovery process after this bad defeat that left Chennaiyin without a win after two games.
The defending champions remain at home for their next game when they welcome FC Goa on October 13 in a rematch of last year's final.