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Gregory slams players, Roca praise collective effort


The visitors went seven points clear on the top of the table with the win over the Marina Machans.

Chennaiyin FC succumbed to their fourth loss of the season when they went down 1-3 against Bengaluru FC in Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 on Tuesday at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai. Trailing to Boithang Haokip’s opener, the home team responded through Francisco Fernandes. But after the Blues had regained the lead through Miku, Chennaiyin self-destructed when their captain Henrique Sereno was sent off and Jeje Lalpekhlua missed a penalty. Sunil Chhetri’s strike deep in injury time was the ultimate nail in the coffin.

The defeat leaves them trailing Bengaluru by seven points and speaking to the media during the post-match press conference was head coach John Gregory. The Englishman admitted that the team had been at fault for all the goals. “We caused our own problems,” he stated. “For all three of their goals, we made mistakes. Glaring mistakes, which we don’t expect from our players.”

While Gregory was unhappy about the errors made by his team, he also heaped praise on Bengaluru for the way they played their football. “Without a doubt, we made glaring errors,” he admitted. “The mistakes that we made cost us the game. I just want to say that I think it is a privilege to have a team like Bengaluru FC in Hero ISL, playing the kind of football that they do. They keep the ball well, pass the ball well and they are difficult to play against.”

The 63-year-old further added, “But having said that, even at 2 – 1 we had a chance to get back in the game when we had the penalty; one which we did not take. It’s one of those nights really when not everything has gone as well as it has in the previous games.”

Henrique Sereno was sent off for picking up two yellow cards, but Gregory was quick to step in defence of Chennaiyin’s skipper. “He (Sereno) has been an inspiration to everybody as the captain. As a defender, you are obviously more likely to get yellow cards than attackers. But he has been an outstanding captain and an outstanding person. He was a bit unlucky to get two yellows today,” he said.

The team now has a tight schedule ahead, but Gregory maintained that they were gearing up for it. “I think we looked good even with ten men,” he remarked. “Certainly, our fitness level is first class. We have enjoyed our rest. We obviously have a heavy schedule for the remaining sixteen days. So, we have to pick ourselves up and get three points when we go to Delhi.”

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Bengaluru FC went seven points clear at the top of the points table after notching up a 3 – 1 win over Chennaiyin FC in Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Tuesday. Boithang Haokip scored his first ever goal for the Blues, which was cancelled out by Francisco Fernandes’ header. However, Miku got back the lead for the visitors and custodian Gurpreet Singh Sandhu saved Jeje Lalpekhlua’s penalty before skipper Sunil Chhetri sealed the win in injury time.

Bengaluru are the first team to reach 30 points this season after picking up their fourth win on the trot and addressing the media during the post-match press conference was their head coach Albert Roca. Chhetri and Miku have together contributed to 20 of their team’s 28 goals, but Roca admitted that the Blues need to find a balance as well. “Both Miku and Chhetri are in top form,’ he stated. “But it’s important to find a balance. In the last game, we were trying to find options to see who can make a balance. So, it is something we have to see. This is the most difficult thing for us.”

The Spaniard was pleased with his team’s performance, but also acknowledged the fact that Chennaiyin gave them tough competition. “Today, everybody played well,” he said. “In the first half, we had some good opportunities to score a second goal, but they pushed. They have good players and they scored. They kept the ball and controlled the situation. But they also missed a penalty and my players took advantage.”

Regarding his team, the 55-year-old further said, “It’s just a question to be balanced over time. We have good strikers and we have good midfielders, as well. They will go and win the ball back from the opponents. They will cause the opponents a lot of problems. And I’m happy with the four wins in a row. It gives us confidence for the next games.”

Published: Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:59 AM IST


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