John Gregory: Was an incredible effort from the players

Chennaiyin FC secured the second position in the table after beating Mumbai City FC 1 – 0 in Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Saturday. Rene Mihelic scored from the spot in the second half to ensure all three points for the hosts.

Addressing the media during the post-match press conference was their head coach John Gregory who explained what ultimately resulted in his team getting to where they are now. “We played five matches in 23 days which was a huge amount of work on the boys,” he inferred. “I did not change the squad that often, I tended to use the same 12-14 players. And those five games actually got us into the playoffs. It was an incredible effort from the players with their energy levels and endurance while training, travelling, recovering, preparing and the mental pressure.”

The 63-year-old pointed out that having such a good squad meant difficulty in picking the starting 11. “I have a big problem picking a team, because everybody performs incredibly well,” Gregory revealed. “And it’s a very professional team. I just know that whatever team I decide to start with for the semi-finals, the players will be ready to go in. They will know what to do and how to play.”

He singled out 21-year-old Germanpreet Singh for his performances and lauded the young talent. “That is the beauty of what we have; knowing there are people like Germanpreet (Singh),” Gregory remarked. “He knows what to do, how to play his role in midfield. I think India is very lucky. He is very much part of the national team and our team. We are very proud of players like him.”

Meanwhile, Mumbai City FC head coach Alexandre Guimaraes shared his disappointment at how the season panned out. “We have established ourselves very well in the Hero ISL,” he stated. “Unfortunately, this season we did not have stability in our performance, which worked against us. But now, the team’s organisation has to be planned and worked on. It was a difficult game, but what made the difference was an error, which gave them a situation from which they scored.”

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