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ISL 2018-19: John Gregory - We have many negatives to negotiate

21:09 GMT+3 02/02/2019
John Gregory Chennaiyin Pune City
The former Aston Villa coach expressed his disappointment in the manner in which his side went down to Pune City…

Chennaiyin FC suffered yet another defeat on home soil this season in the Indian Super League (ISL) as they went down to FC Pune City.
Coach John Gregory was asked if his side missed the services of the experienced Inigo Calderon who has parted ways with the club in the winter transfer window.
“You can always talk about the people who are not there. But it is the people who are there who had the opportunity to stake a claim for themselves, for their career. People who have come into the club, I have always told them to do your best if you are successful, you will be there next week. We will always miss him.
“You could always say we will miss Elano (Blumer), we will we miss (Bernard) Mendy, we miss (Henrique) Sereno, we miss Dhanpal Ganesh. But, they are not there and you have to get on with it. Those who are there, they have to perform well,” said the English coach.
Gregory expressed his disappointment over the schoolboy errors which led to the two goals scored by Marcelinho.
“When we went 1-0 up, there was only one team that could win it, that was us. We were totally in control of the game and then we gave two goals which I doubt you would see on a school playground. We had 95 minutes to win the game. They didn't do really that much to win it as such. It's another punch on the nose,” remarked Gregory.

Chennaiyin FC have leaked in the most goals this season in the league – 27. The defending champions have looked a shadow of the side which won the ISL title last season with one of the meanest defences. He reasoned lack of squad depth in certain key areas coupled with Mailson Alves’ suspension hasn’t helped their cause.
“Eli Sabia is a new player who came in this summer and he possibly has been the most consistent for us this season without any question. Nobody has got near the standard he has performed too. Zotea has done well in a couple of games.
“Obviously, we have a couple of kids (Laldinliana Renthlei and Tondonba Singh) who are very green, very raw. They have been thrown into the deep end and they have been exposed given their lack of experience. But these are the areas where we don't have a great deal of options. They are learning the hard way which is quite sad because when you bring young boys into the team, you want to bring them into a winning team, a successful team and not be so much under pressure.
“It's been tough for them coming into a losing team rather than winning team where you can develop yourself. We have lost Mailson (Alves) for three matches this season, which hasn't helped. His presence in the team gives us a lot of defensive reassurance. I am certainly finding it hard to get over a day like this where we should clearly have won.”

C.K.Vineeth scored the opening goal for Chennaiyin FC in his second start since joining on loan from Kerala Blasters. However, Gregory chose not to focus on the positives as his side are rooted to the bottom of the league table with just five points.

“Yes, you always search for positives. But I am not really looking for positives now because we have so many negatives to negotiate. I take the outcome of matches very much to my heart and it will take me a long time to recover from this today. It hurts today more than its hurt before.

“It is hard for the players as well but nobody can complain because everybody had a chance. For CK (Vineeth), it will get him started again and will give him confidence. Even Chris Herd when he came on, he looked comfortable and he knew what he was doing. In so many situations today it was unlike us. We gave away the ball in stupid situations,” he elaborated.

Up next for Chennaiyin FC is the game against last season’s runners-up Bengaluru FC who currently lead the table with 30 points. 
“We won't need picking up this week because we know what we have got coming up. We won't need to motivate many players in our squad. It is a big derby game for us. We felt a bit unjustified in our defeat at Bengaluru earlier this season. We got a decision against us. Our luck hasn't really changed from that day. 
“We will be fired up for next Saturday without any question. My players will know what is at stake. If we are able to win next week, then maybe it would be a bit of an apology to our supporters.”