ISL 2017: Chennaiyin FC's John Gregory: Started with wrong team and formation, accept responsibility

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Chennaiyin FC
The Super Machans recovered after going 3-0 down to Goa at home but pulled two goals back in the second half...

The Indian Super League (ISL) champions from two seasons ago, Chennaiyin FC, lost 2-3 to FC Goa, marking a sober home debut for John Gregory on his managerial debut in India.

Chennaiyin FC head coach John Gregory was visibly upset after his team shipped in three goals within 38 minutes. "I think I started with the wrong team and formation and I have to accept responsibility for that. I exposed my team a little bit more to Goa than I should have done."

"After the half-time changes, the shape was much better and I sit here disappointed that we did not get a point. It was an outstanding second-half performance. We deserved a draw. Goa were happier than us at the halftime whistle," he added.

He further spoke about his mistakes in the first half. "I picked the wrong shape. I played three in midfield whereas, in the second half, I played a 3-4-3. We were literally pressurising them in the second half from the kickoff. If Gregory had scored, things might have been different. I'm proud of the comeback but I have to take responsibility for not starting well."

"The first goal came from a bad mistake and I don't expect that from the boys. At 3-0 we needed to change the shape and looked a lot more balanced. We let ourselves a bit open in the second half and even then they did not threaten us much. We could have pulled off a draw," the former Aston Villa manager appeared disappointed on his troops.

He added, "We looked a bit nervous in the first half. After training hard, playing in front of a big crowd is a bit intimidating. But they will learn a lot over the course of the season. Goa moved the ball around very well and I was happy to get to half-time and make those changes"

"If you notice in the final five or ten minutes, Jeje (Lalpekhlua) slowed down a little bit. Jerry (Lalrinzuala) and Jeje both played for the national team and have been playing through the summer and have not really had much of a rest. We have to be careful that we look after them properly. They need to recover more so than the other players," he said about his domestic stalwarts.

Brazilian star Raphael Augusto, who converted a late penalty, received rare accolades from the Briton. "Raphael is not 100% fit. He has struggled a little bit in the last couple of days. He wanted to play the game and he is a fighter and wanted to keep playing despite getting some knocks in pre-season and during this game. To be fair, he did a lot in the second half and they couldn't handle them," he revealed.

Finally, the former Brighton and Hove Albion player chose to play safe and did not make a comment on the standards of refereeing in the ISL. "I leave referees alone. They have a tough job and I don't criticise their performance. I will look at my own performance (instead)," he concluded.





 

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