ISL 2019-20: Chennaiyin's John Gregory takes aim at scheduling, calls it 'horrendous'
Twice they took the lead, but allowed their opponents back into the contest. On Monday the club registered it's first win of the season with late goals in injury time to secure victory against Hyderabad FC.
After the game, Chennaiyin head coach John Gregory was none too pleased with the scheduling.
"We played just three days ago and we were expected to play again. Our next game is on 9th (December) and then we have another game on the 12th (December)."
He felt his club had received a rather rough deal compared to some other clubs who had received more favourable schedules.
"I’ve looked at the entire schedules of all the teams. We play two games in three days four times this season", said an exasperated Gregory. "Not many clubs have that situation. I don’t want two weeks off in between games. I want even spacing between the games. The two weeks off does not do us any good."
"The scheduling is horrendous. We played three games in seven days at the start. That’s ridiculous. The ISL needs to really take a good long look at it. The scheduling for some clubs is embarrassing. You are asking a hell of a lot from the players in such a situation."
Right-back Edwin Vanspaul also echoed his coach's sentiments. The final 20 minutes of the match were played with heavy rain beating down, making the conditions tough for the players.
"It's not easy to play twice in a span of four days. During these two off days we didn't even focus too much on our drills as recovery was the sole focus. These kind of back-to-back games often are detrimental to our fitness and especially with the rain, there was a high chance of picking up injuries", said Edwin.
Adding to Gregory's irritation was what he felt was a clear penalty that could have proved decisive. Leading 2-1 in the 78th minute, Valskis latched on to a long ball from the defence and had a great opportunity to seal the game with just the keeper to beat. Odisha left-back Narayan Das, however, tried to put him off as the last man and brought Valskis to the ground, but referee Umesh Bora did not deem it a foul.
It was a big moment as the foul in the box would have given Chennaiyin a penalty and resulted in a sending off for Das for denying the clear goal-scoring opportunity.
"We tend to not get favours but other clubs do. The Valskis incident looked a nailed-on penalty and a red card. It would have given us a result we deserved", said Gregory.
Earlier on Thursday City Football Group announced their entry into Indian football with their acquisition of a majority stake in Mumbai City FC.
Asked about the development he said: "Atletico have shown what they can do (ATK and Jamshedpur). It’s great that City want to get involved in India. But it remains to be seen what they are going to do. It will help their brand I’m sure."
"City being City, will want to be successful. They will add a bit of weight to Mumbai and push them up the table. It’s good for Indian football."