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AFC Cup 2019: John Gregory - Need to pick a more offensive starting lineup

3:31 PM WAT 16/04/2019
Chennaiyin FC AFC Cup 2019
John Gregory hailed Dhanapal Ganesh and agreed that the midfielder's comeback from injury had a positive impact on the team's performance...

After a disappointing defeat against FC Goa in the final of the Super Cup, the former Indian Super League (ISL) champions Chennaiyin FC shift focus to the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Cup. 

The Indian side will hope to pick up full points from their second home game against Nepalese club Manang Marshyangdi after managing a goalless draw in their first match against Minerva Punjab

Speaking about the mood of the Chennaiyin camp, coach John Gregory said,  "We are a bit disappointed we played a competition this weekend which we didn't win. But the focus is on the AFC Cup. It's a great competition and we are proud to represent Chennai as well as India. Everyone is feeling positive ahead of the match."

Chennaiyin's performance has improved leaps and bounds since their dreadful ISL 2018-19 campaign and Gregory suggested that opportunity to represent the country at the AFC Cup will motivate the players. 

"The AFC cup inspired us to play better. The stature of the competition is huge. Last season we saw Bengaluru FC had a great run but unfortunately faltered. We want to better that record this time. We want to do well after the disappointing domestic competition," said the Chennaiyin boss. 

The British coach hinted that he will make some changes in the team as well as in his tactics against Manang Marshyangdi.

He said, "In the first game we had a good opportunity to get three points against Minerva Punjab. But nonetheless, we played well, created chances and also defensively we did well. But to win matches we need to score goals. We are doing that lately. We need to pick a more offensive team which can score goals. There might be some chances. After a long season, it is sometimes difficult to keep everyone focused. I have to make sure everyone remain motivated and focused."

Gregory specifically mentioned how much the team missed midfielder Dhanapal Ganesh throughout the season. Dhanapal was ruled out of action just before this season with a knee injury. He returned only after the ISL season ended. 

"I think you can look back to the domestic season and Dhanapal was a big miss for us. After he came back the team improved, it became solid, stronger. We tried a lot of players in that position but it didn't work. It is difficult to replace someone of his stature. Mailson and Eli are obviously doing well and Dhanapal is giving them the much needed protection," said Gregory.