Chennaiyin FC head coach John Gregory conceded that his tactics backfired against FC Goa, resulting in a 1-3 loss in the Indian Super League (ISL) match held at the Marina Arena on Saturday.
Edu Bedia gave visitors the lead after a dominant period with the ball in the first half. Ferran Corominas and Mourtada Fall scored in the second half to seal three points. Eli Sabi headed in a consolation goal for the hosts.
"We were not as sharp defensively as we have been. I think all three goals could’ve been avoided. But I always take responsibility for the outcome. I’ll always defend my players," began Gregory after his team's second defeat in as many games.
"FC Goa started like how they always do. They always dominate games and they played very well. I was expecting them to play this way. We just couldn’t get in the game for some reason.
"I think it (the loss) is due to my set-up. I think it was probably the wrong shape. I’m obviously looking at myself. Karanjit did not have much to do in the first half. I was happy to be only 1-0 down at half-time. They didn’t create much otherwise. We fell asleep for the second goal and suddenly we had a mountain to climb. We tried to claw something back and we couldn’t get that goal."
Jeje Lalpekhlua once again went missing in the game and was replaced midway through the second half. Gregory introduced Carlos Salom in a bid to get back in the game.
"He (Jeje) was giving everything like he always does. Carlos had to sit and watch and I just wanted to get him on the field. But the rule is you have to have only five foreigners. I didn’t want to take Calderon off but I had to sacrifice him to get Salom on the pitch. I think he certainly got into the game quickly and had efforts on goal. I was pleased with his cameo."
Gregory refused to criticise his defenders for the goals conceded. "You saw us against Bengaluru FC, they are one of the most prolific teams and we kept Sunil and Miku quiet. We did well last week defensively. Tonight (Saturday), we allowed them to get into the game, But I don’t think it was down to the members of the back four. Eli Sabia had a fantastic game for us."
"The pressure’s all mine. I’m the leader and it’s down to me to get results. It’s down to me to prepare the team and make sure the team do well.
"We’ve had two punches down the throat, just like the other team with an English coach (ATK). The two of us find ourselves ninth and 10th. But our objective is to get into the playoffs. That still is our target. We just need to get the first point on the board. I’m sure Steve Coppell is scratching his head as well."
Last season, Chennaiyin played NorthEast United after losing to Goa and managed a win. With the same fixture coming up, Gregory is hoping his team can get a win.
"It’s a time where players have to stay together as a group. We had the same feeling last time after Goa. I hope that the fact that we are playing NorthEast again would help us."