John Gregory urges players to make a big first impression at home

Two-time Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) champions, Chennaiyin FC will play their second match of the new season against Mumbai City FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Sunday. John Gregory’s charges didn’t quite get off to the best of starts, as they emerged on the wrong side of a 3-0 result against FC Goa in their opening match of the campaign.

At the pre-match press conference, Gregory picked out a few positives from the side’s performance against Goa and explained, “Disappointed with the outcome the other night, but I wasn’t too disappointed with the way the team played. I thought we did very well in the game.”

The Englishman also reserved special praise for young goalkeeper, Vishal Kaith. “I thought Vishal played very well the other night. He had to make a couple of very good saves, and generally, for his debut, he can be really pleased with the way he played the other night. He’s another one who is going to be playing at the Marina for the very first time on Sunday. So, I hope for him and the team that we get a victory, and also, he keeps a clean sheet. I thought his performance went slightly unnoticed the other night.”

Gregory then, hinted at possible changes to his side for the Mumbai fixture and said, “The Hero ISL comes on to you very quickly and you have to pick up results quickly. New players have to settle in very quickly. I started with a team against Goa, I made three changes as the match wore on, and the boys that came on did very well. I have in my mind maybe to make one or two changes for the match against Mumbai.”

The 2017-18 Hero ISL title-winning head coach also shared his opinion on what the new signings must do to endear themselves to the home crowd. “It’ll be their first time in front of the fans. Many of our players have never played in our stadium, so it will be their first time and also the first time our fans get to see some of our players. So, they want to make a big impression. The best way to make an impression is to win.”

“I would like us to get three points on the board. Back in season four, we lost our opening match against Goa and we went on to win the next two games and sat top of the league after three games. I’d be delighted if we can manage to take maximum points from the next two matches at home,” he added.

Romanian midfielder, Dragos Firtulescu was seated next to Gregory at the briefing. The 30-year-old had a decent debut against Goa and shared his thoughts on the potential of the squad. “When you build a house, you cannot build it in two days. We need time. Our coach was here when we won the title. Some players who came in, like Lucian (Goian), played at a high level. I think our teams is one of the best teams of this championship. We just need to build the chemistry and need to be patient.”

Read the Match Preview here.

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