John Gregory: Keeping Krishna and Williams quiet won’t be easy

Chennaiyin FC will be looking to register their first goal, and hopefully their first win, of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20, when they host arch-rivals ATK at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Wednesday. The two-time champions come into the fixture after a goalless draw against Mumbai City FC but will have their work cut out for them against an ATK side, which will be brimming with confidence following a 5-0 win in their last outing.

At the pre-match press conference, Chennaiyin head coach John Gregory predicted and exciting contest between the two former champions and said, “It’s going to be exciting. I was delighted that we kept a clean sheet in our last match. The back four did well and we restricted Mumbai to just a couple of chances. It is always good when you come off the field not having conceded a goal and we hope to continue that into the season. That being said, ATK had an amazing victory the other night (against Hyderabad FC). Almost every opportunity they had, they scored. With Roy Krishna and David Williams up front, with these two in particular, we know that they will be very difficult to keep quiet.”

“We need to be switched on early because ATK have a habit of starting games really well. They did it against Kerala and then again Hyderabad,” he added.

Chennaiyin haven’t been able to score in their last five Hero ISL outings, including the two this season. Asked if it was an area of concern, the Englishman stated, “We did everything but score the other night (against Mumbai City FC). We had a lot of chances and had lots of shots on goal. We certainly had lots of opportunities. I was somewhat bewildered that we didn’t score in the first 15 minutes, when we created a lot of chances. Their keeper made one outstanding save. Generally, we were pleased with that side of the game. Even Nerijus Valskis had a few chances to score in the dying minutes. I’m not too disappointed considering we were creating chances, compared to periods of last season when we were not creating enough.”

Chennaiyin’s clashes against ATK have traditionally been high-scoring affairs. When enquired if another one might be in store on Wednesday, Gregory stated, “I will be happy as long as we win. Certainly, we will always enjoy it if we don’t concede a goal. I will be happy with a 1-0 win. We are not a side who have that many high-scoring matches, even back in the title winning 2017-18 season. I definitely want the match to be enjoyable. But as long as we score one more than the opposition and win the match, I really don’t care what the scoreline is.”

Chennaiyin goalkeeper Vishal Kaith was also at the briefing and shared his thoughts on his move to the new team. “At FC Pune City, the atmosphere was different. It is very different here. I feel very good. The fans are great, and I am very happy with the atmosphere in the dressing room.”

Kaith, who has played under current ATK head coach Antonio Lopez Habas at Pune in the past, also added, “I have a lot of respect for Antonio Lopez Habas and I enjoyed my time playing under him. But now my focus is Chennaiyin and getting a positive result.”

Read the Match Preview here.

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