Gregory: There’s a special feeling about Bengaluru-Chennaiyin clashes

Two-time Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) champions, Chennaiyin FC will be aiming to claim all three points and the bragging rights when they travel to face rivals and defending champions, Bengaluru FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Sunday. Chennaiyin are currently at the bottom of the table with just one point from three fixtures.

John Gregory’s men are yet to score this season despite creating a raft of chances in the last two matches. Taking the latter as a positive reinforcement to take into the coming fixture, the Englishman, at his pre-match press conference, said, “We’ve played particularly well in the last two matches at home. We’ve had about 40 shots in two games. 20 in each game. We know we should have scored as we had good opportunities in both games.”

He added, “We could be sitting here with six points, and should really be. I saw Bengaluru’s game with Jamshedpur. And Bengaluru should have been winning quite possible, 4-0 at halftime. That’s been very much how we’ve been, particularly in the last two matches. We are doing okay.”

“We just haven’t really got the results. We haven’t got the three points as yet. I’ve been pleased with the chances we’ve created. And we’ve defended very well in the last two games as well. Certainly, the match against ATK, we expected them to give us lot more problems than they did on the night. We were very happy.”

The 65-year-old also provided his opinion on Bengaluru, stating, “Since they came into the league, they’ve been an outstanding team. Their points tally in the last two seasons has been quite incredible. They provide a lot of players for the national team. The club has done well particularly since it’s come into the Hero ISL. So, we know the challenge is facing them. I think everybody in the Hero ISL always know the games against Bengaluru will be a tough game.”

Chennaiyin and Bengaluru have enjoyed a healthy rivalry in the league so far, with both fans and geography playing a major part in it. The Englishman also claimed that he was more the aware of the status and therefore, asked his players to put some extra effort into the fixture. “The rivalry between the two teams has been very strong since Bengaluru came into the Hero ISL in season four. They had a fantastic season and finished top of the league. We played in a final in Bengaluru’s home stadium. Our fans and their fans enjoy these games. They know there is a lot at stake and whichever team comes out on top, gets the opportunity to make fun of the opposition. That’s been in football for a long time. There is a special feeling about this match, always has been. We admire what Bengaluru achieved last season. And we would like to get our first victory. Our players are very aware.”

On the topic of his former player Raphael Augusto, who moved to Bengaluru this transfer window, Gregory said, “What a good player he is. He has started the season very well. He’s played a little bit forward than he did for us last season. In season four, we also played him behind the striker. And he probably had one of his best seasons in that position. I don’t think he has always enjoyed playing there. And I hope he doesn’t enjoy playing there against us.”

Midfielder Rafael Crivellaro had also attended the media briefing and shared his thoughts on the upcoming contest. “We know it’s a very difficult match. We trained very hard this week and we know we should start getting the points. I think all players are working to win the tournament. I think we are more focused on our team than the others. We work hard and we saw what we did badly and what we did well. We will try to win points in the next match.”

Read the match preview here.

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