Sergio Lobera backs Kattimani, John Gregory takes blame for poor showing
Written by: K.Koushik Venkatesh
The Englishman cut a sorry figure as the Gaurs were too hot to handle for the Machans.
John Gregory entered the hall looking glum as he had just witnessed his team getting completely outplayed in all areas in their Indian Super League (ISL) opener. FC Goa were tactically strong and their amazing first half display and Chennaiyin FC’s lack of reaction to their play saw the hosts go 0-3 down at half-time.
The first question posed to him was for him to give his assessment on the game.
JG: “I probably started with the wrong team, the wrong formation and I have to accept responsibility for that. I exposed my team a little bit more to Goa than I should’ve done and obviously when I made the changes a half-time we had a much better shape in the second half. I sit here disappointed that we at least didn’t get a point. At the end, I think Goa were happier than us to hear the final whistle.
Gregorywas asked if he was happy with the quality of refereeing towards the end of the game, as there were a couple of strong shouts for a free-kick from a scoring position.
JG: “Yeah, I leave referees alone. They have a tough job. I’ll never criticize their performance. We had 95 minutes to win the game and we didn’t. I only look at our performance and not anyone else’s."
The tactician was quick to interrupt a question accusing Raphael Augusto's sharpness in-game. He said, "Raphael Augusto has not been 100% fit. He’s struggled a little bit with the injuries that he is carrying but he still wanted to play tonight and there were couple of times in the match where I thought he wanted to come off but he’s a fighter and he wanted to stay on. He’s a strong boy and he was behind everything that we did and the opponents couldn’t handle him either. I’m sure he’ll be back on Thursday night".
"We made little errors but in general, I'm proud of the team- Lobera
Sergio Lobera was chuffed to bits with his team’s performance. “The first half is what we wanted to be and we can use the second half as a way of learning and improve for the future. We also took our opportunities well in the first half and we made little errors, but in general, I’m proud of the team.”
When he was questioned about the playing style and how that led to the goals for Chennaiyin FC, he said “Despite committing errors, they continued to follow the system and the style of play that we wanted to employ. When we play a game of this sort, we are always faced with risks. We took similar risks in the first half and it worked really well. We committed minor errors that made the team a little insecure which led to us losing possession.”
Lobera was asked about the goalkeeping error by Laxmikant Kattimani which led to the first goal for CFC to which he said, “For me, Kattimani is the best keeper in the league keeping in mind that I have all the respect for the other goalkeepers in the league. It’s obvious that the goalkeepers are highlighted because their mistakes are more glaring.”
Lobera’s FC Goa have opened the scoring in this edition of the ISL and have picked up the win against one of the title contenders this season. This win will go a long way in helping their confidence and confidence is pivotal for their style of play. Chennaiyin FC will look to bounce back on the 23rd when they face the highlanders in what promises to be an end to end match. Should Gregory learn from his errors, Chennaiyin FC have a good chance to pick up a win at home.
Published: Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:23 PM IST