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Gregory delighted with Lalpekhlua show, Sheringham optimistic for rest of season


Both managers offered their reflections following a game of two halves.

Chennaiyin FC hung on till the dying minutes to pick up three points against a resurgent ATK in an Indian Super League match played at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai on Thursday.

The first half saw both the teams head into the dressing room with no goals to show for their efforts. But, after the hour mark, it was Chennaiyin who opened the account in the game and in the space of the next 30 minutes, there were four more goals. It was Chennai who stuck out till the end and came out as the winners in this game of two halves.

Chennai boss John Gregory was asked how concerned he was with the conceding of the late goals to which he straight away said that he was not. “Not concerned at all. We’ve come on the back of a very tough game at Pune and we still kept going to the end. ATK have had a little bit more rest than us and they’ve got some outstanding players in their team."

He continued, "They’ve got a very good team. Their position in the league is false and maybe if they get a victory under their belt they will be totally different. Certainly, Robbie Keane made a difference when he came on and if they get him fit and get him on the starting lineup, they’ll still be a team we have to look out for this season. They will be up there, challenging, I’m sure.

Reflecting on his own team's performance he said, "We should take a lot of credit really. The way we continued playing. We never gave up. We got in front twice and we gave it away twice. But, we still weren’t happy to accept one point and the third goal was obviously the best goal in the game and I’m delighted for Jeje." 

Towards the end of the first half Gregory looked very frustrated with his team. “We’re better than that. When you walk out onto that pitch, it’s pretty daunting. We have a big crowd, a big following and sometimes you have to relax when you’re in possession and we needed to use the ball better than what we did. A lot of that is onto myself. Maybe on the training ground we need to do a bit more to improve that aspect of the game."

"We can play better and we certainly can than we played tonight over the course of 95 minutes. We won the game and it’s all about results. You can ask any coach, any owners to enjoy watching your team play beautiful football and losing and none of them would agree,” the Englishman explained.

Speaking about the substitutions Gregory was very satisfied with the kind of impact they had made in the game. “The boys that came into the team, they had an impact in the game. It’s all about our team. We’re a very very closely knit bunch of lads as I’ve said many times and it was very evident when we scored the third goal tonight."

Talking about Jeje Lalpekhlua's performance the tactician mentioned that what he demands from the striker is quite different to what Marco Materazzi asked of him.“Under Marco he was an out and out striker. We make him work a little bit harder which is not one of his strengths, but he worked exceptionally hard in the first three matches and he just carried on tonight and got his reward.”

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Teddy Sheringham looked disappointed as expected but he was proud of his players and their conviction to level the scores twice even after they went down.

The coach was asked about the silly mistakes which resulted in the goals ATK conceded to which he replied, “I will never have a go at my players for making mistakes. They try to do the right things and they keep showing the desire that they showed tonight to get back in the game not once but twice, I’ll be a happy man."

He added, "We’ve made a little mistake, in the end, it’s not just one mistake and we shouldn’t be letting them in our area in the first place. So, we can’t break it down to one person. If people are protected they don’t make mistakes. So, we win as a team and lose as a team and we’ve done that again tonight.

Robbie Keane’s performance was questioned next and the Englishman was asked to comment on the same. “It’s nice to have him back. I wanted him to get on the pitch and make things happen and I felt he did that so it’s fantastic. But, right this minute we’ve just lost a game and that’s what my main concern is. But, I’m very very pleased that Robbie is back.”

The manager was then asked about his team's worrying form and how in the past teams have struggled to recover from such a position to which he had quite a positive response. “If my players keep giving me the desire to get back in the games to win games and if they keep giving me that 100% things will turn around."

"The desire from my players to do the right thing was fantastic and I’m sure it was a real spectacle for the neutral people watching the game, but that’s no good for me.”

Published: Fri Dec 08, 2017 01:17 PM IST


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