“The media has to analyse the standard of refereeing” – Albert Roca

The Bengaluru gaffer refrained from commenting on some debatable refereeing decisions that plagued Chennayin FC‘s 1-2 win over Bengaluru FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Sunday. 

The 58-year old chose not to criticise the officials of the game today but instead acknowledged that they too make errors and stressed to the media gathering that they would need to analyse the standard of refereeing in this year’s ISL which has come under intense scrutiny. 

Albert Roca cut a frustrated figure on the touchline as he saw his charges fall to their second defeat of the ISL, the first at their Bengaluru base. The Spaniard pointed to Jeje‘s early goal that set the tone for the rest of the game. 

“We made a mistake in the beginning. We played sometimes without the calm that we usually have. Even like this we had 2 good opportunities to come back into the game and put them in trouble. We didn’t produce the results in the attacking third that we wanted” said Roca. 

The head coach went on to highlight how his team needed to be careful defending set pieces once John Johnson was off the field and praised his team for going all out for the win. 

The home side had rotated their squad heavily with the likes of Erik Paartalu, Udanta Singh and Juanan on the bench. Roca cited fixture management to defend his decision to rotate the team. 

“We played an important game in Pune and we had to manage the squad accordingly. I have to select players who are in the better condition to start. We have to keep fighting and we have a game in 4 days. I would have ideally liked to win today despite rotating the squad and we have to see what is better for the next game” pointed out Roca. 

The game which was billed the Southern Derby saw tempers flare both during the game and after the final whistle which resulted in a melee of players in the centre of the pitch. 

“Sometimes you think we have to relax a bit even though it’s a derby. It’s a game everybody wants to win and emotions can explode at the end of the game. They have to know how to win with respect and it’s a shame that they maintain a different attitude after winning. Even for us, we have always believed that we maintain the same attitude despite winning or losing” highlighted the former El Salvador coach. 

The Spaniard reserved special praise for the famed West Block Blues and hoped that the Blues’ next game against Jameshdpur FC on Thursday would give the fans reason to cheer. 

“This is football and we move on. We know what areas to focus on to win and we thank our supporters for being there in all situations. We want to give them reason to cheer in the next game”


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“The boys in my team have got good habits” – John Gregory

The Englishman was naturally full of praise for his players as the Super Machans picked up a valuable 3 points at the home of the table toppers. Jeje’s early goal was matched by an equally late goal by Sunil Chhetri, but the home side’s joy was short lived as Dhanpal Ganesh rose highest to head past Gurpreet Singh Sandhu to send the travelling Marina Machans into raptures. 

“The boys in my team have got good habits. We try and teach our players good habits and lot of it is mental. They need to focus and concentrate and if they focus on the job that is given to them in the game, it makes it easier to restrict the opposition” praised Gregory.

The Brit went on to explain that the game went exactly like he envisioned. 

“We wanted to take 3 points and we got a good start by scoring first. The game was exactly how I thought it would be. We stopped them playing the open game and worked very hard. Bikramjit and Dhanpal did a great job in the middle of the park. Francis and Jude did a great job on the wings. We tried to keep them out of the penalty box as much as possible especially Miku who has 3 chances and scores 2 goals” pointed out Gregory.

He also singled out Spaniard Inigo Calderon‘s role in keeping Sunil Chhetri quiet. The 35-year old shut out the Bengaluru talisman and Gregory attributed this to the experience of the former Brighton & Hove Albion full back. 

The coach also praised the travelling fans who created an extremely passionate atmosphere inside the Sri Kanteerava Stadium and highlighted the importance of the victory from the team and fans point of view considering that it was a local derby. 

“It’s a derby and you saw the atmosphere and we had fans travelling from Chennai. We had a bad result in Pune and this win is for our fans. Everybody went a little over the top in the game, but this is what happens in a match of this magnitude” praised the 63-year old. 

The end of the match saw ugly scenes in the centre of the pitch as the players from both sides clashed in what was allegedly extremely provocative celebrations from the Chennayin players. However, Gregory was in no mood to comment on the same. 

“I didn’t see the incident and can’t comment on it. There was a lot of passion and we scored the winning goal” signed off the Englishman.