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ISL 2017: "First thing you want to do after a loss is get back on the field," says Chennaiyin FC's John Gregory ahead of second game

Gregory believes his Chennaiyin side are eager to rebound after opening loss


John Gregory
John Gregory

John Gregory accepted full responsibility for his team's lacklustre showing after his reign as coach of Chennaiyin FC in ISL 2017 got underway with a loss at the hands of FC Goa on Sunday evening. Gregory and his boys will look to rebound from that defeat Thursday night when they host NorthEast United in their second game of the season.

“First thing you want to do after a loss is to get back on the field. We get our chance very quickly. It can't come quickly enough. The game has come along at the right time”, said Gregory speaking to the media ahead of the clash with the Highlanders.

Gregory had spoken about not overworking some of the players in his squad, such as Jeje Lalpekhlua, due to their workload over the last couple of months. Midfielder Raphael Augusto too, he had revealed after the game against Goa, had been playing with some niggles.

Talking about the squad's fitness and conditioning for tomorrow's game, Gregory said: “Germanpreet is fit. He has recovered after picking up a knock with the national team. We always thought he had enough time for the NorthEast game. He is back in training."

Moving on to his key midfielder Augusto, Gregory went on to say, “He was a doubt going into the Goa game. He wanted to play badly and he scored a goal and played his heart out. He's a competitor and was battered and bruised, but he will be available for selection tomorrow.”

Chennaiyin’s opponents tomorrow, NorthEast United, come into the game on the back of a goalless draw at home against newcomers Jamshedpur FC. Gregory felt that neither they nor NorthEast could be judged based just on their opening results and that teams in the ISL were on an even keel.

“Any team on any given day can beat anyone else in ISL”, said the Chennaiyin coach. “There's not a lot to choose between each team. Sometimes, teams are erratic and sometimes they are brilliant. That's the ISL in a nutshell."

“In the first game, Goa were excellent for 30 minutes and then we put pressure on them and dominated them. That is what ISL has been all about."

'We saw their (NorthEast) first game and they have some weaknesses but they had big strengths also. They are a big side and we need to be aware of their set pieces. They take very good set pieces," Gregory went on to add about the biggest threat on.

The Chennaiyin coach's tactics had backfired on Sunday, his 5-2-3 formation allowing Goa to take control and dictate terms in the first half. When asked about what fans can expect for the second game, Gregory chose to go with a diplomatic response.

“We'll have to wait and see but I certainly wasn't happy with the formation the other night. We looked a balanced team in the second half. We continued with three central defenders who were quiet in the second half. We created a lot of chances with that shape. We'll have to wait and see”, concluded Gregory. 

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