Chennaiyin held Jamshedpur to a 0-0 draw and ended their hopes of qualification to the 2018-19 Indian Super League (ISL) playoffs on Saturday at the Marina Arena. The result has helped NorthEast United confirm a spot in the playoffs for the first time ever.
The home team's head coach John Gregory felt hard done by the refereeing in the game and was disappointed that his team did not win the game.
He said, "They got three throw-ins which I believe were ours. You can appeal to everything during the game. He (linesman) gave it against us thrice and I just really went through him suggesting he made three basic errors. Sometimes, in these situations, we feel hard done by. We were trying to get a couple of points out of the game. The officials, the players and teams need to work together. They could be a bit more civil towards coaches and it is a two-way street. We have to be civil as well."
He added "I was disappointed we did not win. Jeje had a really good chance and I thought he would have scored. We never wanted to deny a team an opportunity to get into the playoffs. But I'm expecting a case of champagne from John Abraham in a week with a thank you note. The four teams who have qualified deserve to get there. It is an 18-game season and you don't get there with luck. NorthEast can now really relax. So they can give their players some rest against Kerala Blasters."
"We defended really well and there was some positive feel right through the team. There were a lot of good things happening on the field. Jamshedpur were throwing everything into our box. But we did well."
On their disastrous season, Gregory said, "It's been horrendous for me. Having to suffer some of the defeats we have suffered despite playing particularly well in a lot of the games. The opposition would score with one shot and we would not capitalise on our chances. It's been hard for me throughout the whole season trying to keep everybody motivated. We have ended up with Thoi Singh being our top scorer but you normally expect your forwards to be the goalscorer. Jeje had a tough time and I think he has not had a break after playing a lot. I take full responsibility for the result.
"The performance today gave me a huge lift despite not getting us three points. If we played like this the whole season we would have finished in a respectable position. It was an unusual break for them in the ISL and completely different for them. But I thought the break was a good thing because our form was inconsistent going into it. I thought we could work during the period and bring in some fresh players. But we ended up losing Inigo Calderon. We missed the likes of Dhanpal Ganesh and Henrique Sereno.
"You have to score goals to win matches. We weren't prolific last season but we could score and we could defend them. Now we need to find that form back and hopefully play well in the AFC Cup and Super Cup," he signed off.