Ferrando rues lack of positive striker, Gregory delighted with defence

Jamshedpur FC’s hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2018-19 came to an end after a goalless draw against Chennaiyin FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Saturday. The visitors were surprisingly indecisive on the offensive front, but very nearly stole a victory in the dying minutes of the match when Michael Soosairaj put the ball in the back of the net. However, the winger was adjudged offside by the linesman. The result also means that NorthEast United FC become the fourth team to qualify for the semis.

From Jamshedpur’s end, head coach Cesar Ferrando was present to take questions from the media at the post-match presser. When asked if he was unhappy with the recruitment at the start of the season, he replied, "I am delighted with my team. Next week we have to go back to our players and coaches on what they want. For me, I decided to win this match. But I think two players were injured and in the last minute. We wanted to win the match. I am very happy with both my foreign players and Indian players."

Ferrando also opined that the absence of a recognised striker to lead the line proved costly for the team on the night. "We have Sumeet Passi and Tim Cahill, who are injured. We had to try and win the match with the rest of the team. The next match is against Bengaluru at home so I hope that we can win," the Spaniard said.

Jamshedpur had a penalty appeal turned down in the second-half after Carlos Calvo's free kick seemed to have hit Isaac Vanmalsawma's arms inside the Chennaiyin box. Asked about his reaction to the decision, Ferrando stated, "I am sure Carlos' free kick hit the opponent's arm, and it was a penalty. But it is football."

Chennaiyin head coach John Gregory began his presser by sharing his views on his team’s final home match of the Hero ISL 2018-19. "I was disappointed we did not win. Jeje (Lalpekhlua) had a really good chance towards the end. We defended really well today. We hung on from the first minute. There were a lot of good things happening today. Mailson Alves and Eli Sabia were at the heart of it. I knew they were going to come under a lot of pressure today," he stated.

Talking about Jamshedpur’s elimination from the top four race, Gregory remarked, "We never wanted to deny somebody the opportunity of getting into the top four. It is unfortunate that it was us. The four teams that qualified deserved to get there. There is no luck involved and they got there over the course of the 18 games."

It has not been the easiest of seasons for Chennaiyin and Gregory in particular. The Englishman took the opportunity to shed some light on some of the emotions he faced over the course of the past six months. "It has been horrendous having to suffer some of the defeats we have had to this year. I thought we played really well in a lot of games before the Christmas break. It has been really really hard for me throughout the whole season trying to keep everyone motivated and acting in a professional way," Gregory revealed.

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