It has been a nightmarish campaign for the champions as they languish at the bottom of the league table with just eight points so far. Coach John Gregory did not hide his disappointment while speaking about his second season with the club.
“We were pretty determined at the start of the season, to ensure we don't let complacency slip in. But it has been a disappointing year, much like 2016 (season 3). We are extremely disappointed in the way our Indian Super League season has turned out. Things will change next season. And I am sure we will be back challenging for the ISL title,” said the Chennaiyin boss
Chennaiyin and Goa share a rivalry which stemmed from the infamous fight between the players of the two teams after the ISL 2015. Things have always been a little heated up when these two sides clash.
Speaking about the rivalry, Gregory mentioned, “Chennaiyin FC and FC Goa have had a very intense rivalry from the start. We have done relatively well against them, especially during my time with Chennaiyin. There is obviously a lot of history between both teams.
“A lot of goals are scored when we play Goa. From our point of view, we are preparing for the AFC Cup and Super Cup. So in that regard, it represents a chance to test ourselves yet again against quality opposition.”
But the coach also revealed his deep admiration for FC Goa’s style of play under the tutelage of Sergio Lobera. He said, “I always look forward to watching FC Goa play. They are very pleasing on the eye, a very good footballing side. Without a doubt, for me, they are the favourites to win the ISL title this season.
“They'd taken a little while to get going this season. But they've only grown stronger. A few slip-ups here and there, but they have done particularly well to be in the position they are in.”
Gregory wants to win the tie and keep the momentum on a high before playing the Super Cup and the all-important AFC Cup. “I am sure they will want to finish the league season on a high, so we will have a fight on our hands tomorrow (Thursday) night. We will be ready for the challenge, hoping for a good result to carry momentum into the AFC Cup,” said the Britisher.
The ISL-winning coach also suggested that his team failed to perform as per expectations. He said, “I'll be pleased to win tomorrow night against FC Goa. We've had a lot of opportunities to win this season, but we are where we are owing to a number of factors. We haven't performed anywhere close to what we are capable of.”