John Gregory vary of opposition; Sachin Badhade aiming for a win
Written by: Rutvij Joshi
The host will look to start the group stage on a high note
Chennaiyin FC host their Indian counterparts Minerva Punjab in the first game of the AFC Cup group stage for both the teams at The Arena in Ahmedabad. This will be the first time an I-League team faces an ISL team in the continental competition. The game is expected to be a tight affair. The two coaches spoke to the media before the game:
John Gregory (Chennaiyin FC)
John Gregory started by praising Minerva as he said, "It is obviously my first experience playing against Minerva. They won the I-League last year and had a fantastic season." He further added, "I don't underestimate the challenge that we have against Minerva. Similar to us, it has not gone well for them, but it is a tough game. We are also not underestimating the other two teams as well. They are a different kind of opposition as well."
He was then questioned about his thoughts on playing in Ahmedabad on which he explained, "For us, we don't have decisions on where we play. We just do what we've been told. We are in a good place mentally, physically. Where we play is not down to the players or staff. We have no choice on that matter. We enjoyed playing here last time. It was pleasing to see so many of our fans here last time. Hopefully, the same group will be here too. It is not easy for them and we appreciate the lengths that they've gone to.
He was asked about the morale of the team after two back-to-back wins and stated, "We were expected to beat Colombo. But, there was a bit of a relaxed atmosphere amongst the boys. CK (Vineeth) and Jeje (Lalpekhlua) both scored in the last match and now there is a healthy competition for places in the squad. So, everyone's performing very well."
Sachin Badhade (Minerva Punjab)
Sachin Badhade gave his insights on the game by saying, "We have prepared ourselves very well and we will be going all out against Chennaiyin and aiming for three points."
When asked about the lack of goals this season and how they are approaching the issue Badhade said, "We've roped in Samuel Lalmuanpuia to address this issue and hopefully we'll get the goals in the tournament."
When asked about what are the expectation from the tournament is for his team he said, "To be honest, the two games between Minerva and Chennai will decide who gets through into the knockouts and hopefully we will be the ones to qualify."
- From coastal Tamil Nadu to Jamshedpur FC: Profiling Michael Soosairaj's remarkable rise in Indian football
Chennaiyin FC have their full squad fit and available.
Minerva too have a fully fit squad
Karanjit, Renthelei, Sabia, Mailson, Tondonba, Issac, Herd, Augusto, Thoi, Vineeth, Lalpekhlua.
Roy, Souvik, Arashpreet, Robert, Akashdeep, Al Hasan, Al Amnah, Lalmuanpuia, Sangwan, Prabhjot, Khan
The kickoff is scheduled at 7:30 pm IST and it won't be telecasted in India.
Published: Tue Apr 02, 2019 10:44 PM IST