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ISL 2018-19: Chennaiyin FC's John Gregory - Been the worst three months of my life

19:23 SAST 2018/12/15
John Gregory Chennaiyin FC
The former Aston Villa manager takes full blame and will look to certainly strengthen in the winter transfer window...

It has been quite the calendar year for Chennaiyin FC. Indian Super League (ISL) champions in 2017-18 and now finishing 2018 bottom of the pile with six games to go in ISL 5.

After getting beat by Delhi Dynamos at home 3-1, Chennaiyin manager John Gregory said, "We had a fantastic 45 minutes. They had one attack and they scored. They scored out of nowhere with their first attempt. We had an abundance of opportunities. We got the penalty and we were 1-1 at half-time when it should have been 3-1. This has been a problem for us this season."

Bikramjit Singh and Daniel Lalhlimpuia were on target for Dynamos - two former Chennaiyin players. "We gave balls away stupidly in dangerous areas and one of our ex-players rubbed our noses in it."

Tondonba Singh was involved in a horrific accident just before the half-time whistle. Gregory filled in with an update on the full-back. "I was incredibly nervous that something incredibly serious might happen. He literally did a full circle and hit the floor with a bump.

"It was quite frightening. But he got up and carried on with it. He cut his mouth and had blood coming out. Just shows the desire he had and hunger he had to carry on playing."

With a mere five points in 12 outings, the Briton has now resolved to improve the situation come January 2019, when the ISL resumes. "We certainly need to make improvements. It’s been a tough 12-game sequence for us. We’ve had nine defeats. It’s been the worst three months of my life. Such a contrast to last season. It ultimately rests on my shoulders. The responsibility is mine.

"The window is open in January. I’ll obviously sit down with Mrs. Dani and discuss what we can do about the current situation and how we can take it forward. Things need to improve if we are going to challenge for the AFC Cup and Super Cup. We’ll need to have a long conversation with Mrs. Dani before deciding what to do.

"We are not the kind of club that pays off people and rescind contracts to have them leave. We don’t pay people five or six months wages and ask them to leave. That’s not the sort of thing we are accustomed to do. We will speak with Mrs. Dani and discuss at length at the best course of action. We can’t sign fresh overseas players unless we have somebody leave. But we can sign Indian players."

Players like Jeje Lalpekhlua, Anirudh Thapa and Germanpreet Singh proceed to the national camp in preparation for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup in UAE.

"They need to prepare well and the way Stephen (Constantine) wants to. They have a chance to go away and play for another team and that might be good for them. Let’s hope they can be successful in UAE," he concluded.