Gregory singles out Germanpreet for praise after Odisha draw

Chennaiyin FC had to settle for a draw despite taking the lead twice during their clash against Odisha FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Thursday. Nerijus Valskis scored a second-half brace to put the hosts ahead twice, however, Odisha came from behind both times to take back something from the game and while speaking to reporters at the post-match press conference, Chennaiyin head coach John Gregory insisted that his side lost two points on the night.

“I think it’s two points lost for us. Two points given away actually and if we had drawn against Hyderabad and then draw against Odisha then we’re unbeaten for two games, but you only get two points and we have four points out of it… We weren’t very good in the first-half. They were by far the better team in the first-half and kept the ball well. We showed a lot of grit and determination and the goals are flying in now (chuckles). Valskis is up and running. The first goal that he scored was an excellent team move as you saw,” Gregory said.

The two-time champions were much better in the second period, scoring both their goals in that half as a result and Gregory explained the reason behind their second-half display. “I made a tactical switch by bringing Germanpreet Singh on (at half-time) and he certainly got involved and ran a lot. He made a lot of tackles and actually got a yellow card on his first tackle and it’s unfortunate because he had to be very careful for the rest of the game… but he played very well and he added tempo to a match. We looked very one-paced in the first-half and were second to most balls. That got better once Germanpreet came on and gave us a bit of balance and bounce in central midfield to get us back into the game,” Gregory shared.

The Englishman also failed to hide his frustration with his team’s final balls. “I get frustrated because I know what my players are capable of and there are times when they can beat three players and the final ball isn’t good enough. We did that too many times from good positions. We work hard to get into good positions and the final ball is so poor. We need to be very critical about ourselves in that area. That’s something we need to work on more in the training ground because we should have scored four or five goals with the amount of possession that we had in the second-half. We didn’t do that and some poor defending by us gave them two goals,” Gregory said.

When asked if his team switches off after going ahead since Chennaiyin conceded soon after scoring for the second game running, Gregory opined, “Sometimes it’s a mental thing. Once you score, you have to switch on, you have to get the ball back and put the opposition under pressure. But sometimes we get the attitude where we think we’ll get the ball back when the opposition gives it to us, maybe and hopefully. Sometimes, we’re the victim of our own circumstances when we should be more defensive minded and aware of the danger.”

Read the Match Report here.

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