Gregory left frustrated, Costa content with the point
Despite it being a match of many chances, the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 clash between Chennaiyin FC and Mumbai City FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Sunday ended in a goalless draw. Both teams had several chances to seize the initiative, but neither were clinical enough on the night to disturb the score board.
At the post-match press conference, Chennaiyin head coach John Gregory shared his thoughts on the match and said, “We totally dominated the first 20 minutes or so and I was really frustrated that we weren’t 3-0 up by that point. This is what football does. If you don’t take your chances, the opposition gets confidence and they start using the ball a little bit better. We also stopped doing the good things we had done in the first 20 minutes. My midfielders weren’t in the game as much as they should have been.”
"We got to half-time and in these kinds of games, you are always kind of expecting (the worst). Mumbai have done this to a lot of teams. They are pretty renowned for it. They sit back and suddenly hit you on a counter-attack. They did that against us twice last season, both home and away. Second-half, I thought it was a matter of time before which we got the winning goal. We had numerous chances that we should have done better with. Amrinder made a good save. So, it was a bit frustrating for us. But I certainly feel very proud of the way everybody went about their jobs tonight. Overall, I was very happy with the performance. That is the main thing. Everybody just gave everything they had," he added.
The Englishman also praised his defence for the clean sheet and stated, “In the defensive sense, we messed up a couple of times in the first-half but in general, the back four and Vishal Kaith were very solid. Edwin Vanspaul and Tondonba Singh also did well. We kept a clean sheet and that’s a good thing. We need to build on the performance.”
Asked if he had zeroed in on his best XI for the season yet, Gregory remarked, “You always try and look for your best XI. I brought on Nerka (Nerijus Valskis) tonight and he got a couple of chances which he created from nowhere. I was happy with his performance. It’s a nice problem to have that we have the versatility in the squad. I am very proud of how the Indian players played and I am looking forward to the season ahead.”
Mumbai head coach Jorge Costa, meanwhile, opined that the match was a close one and could have swayed either way. "Unfortunately, the game finished 0-0. I think we had a very good game. We had several chances to score. Chennaiyin also had several chances to score. I think this game deserved more than a 0-0. It was a difficult game for us. Our second game away on a trot. But, I’m very happy with the players. They fought and tried to play well. After these two games, we have four points. It's not bad. It's not what we wanted before, but it's not bad.
One of the negatives for Mumbai in the match was the injury to star striker Modou Sougou, who had to go off the field early in the match. Asked about his growing injury concerns, the Portuguese boss said, "Sougou didn’t start the first game against Kerala. He was coming from an injury. He played some minutes against Kerala and we thought that he was okay to play this game. Machado was also having some problems. Mato Grgic will be out for a few weeks. But from the beginning, I said that I don’t have a first 11. I have 25 players and I trust all of them."
Read the Match Report here.