In a crucial Indian Super League (ISL) encounter on Friday, Kerala Blasters will host Chennaiyin at Kochi with four points separating both teams.
With his Chennaiyin side having had to play four games in the space of 12 days, coach John Gregory was delighted to have come away with the five points from the set of fixtures.
“It was really tough schedule for us to play games and recover. It was an incredible period for us but we are delighted with the number of points we have managed to get from the last four matches,” the Englishman said on Thursday.
“It has been a huge workload for them (Chennaiyin players). But we finished the game stronger against Jamshedpur,” he added.
Praising the commitment of his players, Gregory said, “One of the reasons why we are in the table is that we have an amazing work ethic. We have had four-five days rest which is unusual. My boys are looking forward to this game tomorrow night.”
The 63-year-old stated that the Blaster’s decision to bring in David James in the middle of the season had worked out for the best for Friday’s hosts.
“When we played them last time, they were really struggling. You make a change, a new coach comes in, David (James) is well known to Kerala fans. He kind of comes in with nothing to lose. He comes in with a really positive attitude. At that particular time, it shows you that it is the right thing to do,” the former Queens Park Rangers coach explained.
With just two games remaining, it will be another must-win game for Kerala in their chase of a playoff berth and Gregory expects them to come out all guns blazing.
“They have been told to play offensively since David has come in. Almost every game they have had has been a must-win game. They won the game in Pune with 30 seconds left. Tomorrow I don't expect it to be different,” he quipped.
Asked what his team needed to do on the night, he replied, “We just need to be the same as we have been. My team has almost been the same for many, many weeks. I have not had the opportunity to experiment. We go into every game trying to win.”
“We are in good form, it is a great game. We can't afford to slip up. We know what’s at stake. We need one win where we can’t be the caught by the rest.”
The Chennaiyin coach also touched on the pressure being in the top positions of the league brings to the table.
“The hardest thing is being in the front. When you are in front, you are the one that everybody tries to peg back. Everybody raised their game against us. I would have taken this position at the start of the season,” Gregory opined.
Giving an update on the injury front, Gregory said, “We are in fantastic condition. Dr.Clark, who was your sports scientist last season, is my sports scientist now. We have left five players in Chennai. Everybody is fit.”