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ISL: John Gregory - It appears Chennaiyin FC won't make it to the play-offs

12:19 GMT 14/12/2018
John Gregory Chennaiyin FC ISL 5
The Chennaiyin FC gaffer went on to rue the fact that their title defence has ended prematurely...

Chennaiyin FC's play-off hopes in the ongoing Indian Super League (ISL) season is all but over, with the team sitting ninth in the table with just five points from eleven games. 

Head coach John Gregory was critical of his team's motivation while discussing the team's title defence ahead of their game against Delhi Dynamos on Saturday. 

"I'm really amazed to see that no one in the ISL has had the ability to come back and retain the title. I didn't envisage the season to pan out this way. But maybe there hasn't been the same hunger in teams trying to retain the title," he said. 

"It appears we won't make it to the playoffs this season. And that is definitely a huge opportunity missed this season."

However, he was quick to assert that the team was looking to finish as high as possible and salvaging some pride. 

"When the team doesn't do well, it is down to me as the Head Coach to take responsibility. It has been a season of missed chances, not taking our opportunities. I have to accept responsibility for the outcome of this season.

"We have 7 matches left though. We certainly need to look after ourselves and get as many points. We can affect the playoff positions and if we manage to take maximum points after the break. You can see how Pune have done."

Chennaiyin's forward line has been misfiring all season with the two forwards, Carlos Salom and Jeje Lalpekhlua, tallying just the one goal so far. Delhi also have been poor in front of goal and Gregory was quick to point the fact out. 

"I would say Delhi is the unluckiest team in the league after us. They have been working really hard but have been unfortunate. Their head coach Josep Gombau has been doing a very good job. Delhi Dynamos could have really been challenging for a playoff position. They have been dominating matches but missing their chances. A lot of parallels can be drawn with us.

"I hope Delhi's luck continues to run bad for one more evening when they take us on tomorrow."

By virtue of their title win last season, Chennaiyin will be representing India in the AFC Cup next year and Gregory has already turned his focus towards the same. 

"When a season goes the way it has for us, the intention is to always try and salvage some pride. We have the Super Cup next year and the AFC Cup to look forward to. I really hope it is a long season for us and that we put up a good run in the AFC Cup.

"We will be extremely focused on the two cup competitions next year. We will give our everything."