Gregory Nelson: Think we are a better team than Bengaluru

Chennaiyin FC face southern rivals Bengaluru FC in the grand finale of Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Saturday. Chennai have demonstrated a fine balance between defence and attack, which has guided them to the final for a shot at their second Hero ISL title. Dutchman Gregory Nelson has been a livewire on the flanks, with his darting runs and incisive crossing. The 30-year-old, who has a goal and three assists to his name, spoke to before the final. Here are the excerpts.

Your thoughts on playing the final in your first season of Hero ISL?

It feels great. I think it always feels good to play finals. I’m very happy about it. 

What are the factors responsible for Chennaiyin FC’s success in Hero ISL?

I think it’s a good thing we didn’t start so good. And I think that woke us up. I think it is better this happened in the first game and not in the middle or the end of the season. And also, we are a very good team, we have fantastic players. Everybody is really close to each other and we give everything for each other. We attack together, we defend together, so this is the main reason. 

Your thoughts on John Gregory’s influence on the team?

He’s a big influence. He always motivates his players. He always speaks to us even if it doesn’t go so well. He always motivates us. The staff also helps us. They speak with us, so they have a big impact on us. 

How does it feel playing the final at Bengaluru FC’s home ground?

I just want to beat them. I don’t care where it is or against who it is. I just want to win the final. So for me, it doesn’t bring pressure whether it’s Bengaluru FC or the city of Bengaluru. I just want to win the cup and whoever stands in our way, we just have to deal with them. 

What are the challenges that Bengaluru FC bring to the game?

I think they’re quite a good match for us but I think we’re the better team. I hope that it will show on Saturday. But they’re a good team. The final is good. It’s the number one team of the league and number two team of the league in the final. So I think it shows that two good teams deserve to be there for a good game, strong game.

What will be key if you’ll are to beat Bengaluru FC?

I think it will come down to a few genius moments from players like Jeje (Lalpekhlua). If he gets one chance, he will score. But they also have these kinds of players that can change the game. It will come down to moments like these. I think it will be an even match and then one of us will change it in one quick moment.

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