John Gregory dismisses luck factor, Pradyum Reddy happy with the change in defensive performances
Written by: Neil Talnikar
Both of the sides are in dire need of their first win of the season.
It will be an intense fixture in the Indian Super League (ISL) between FC Pune City and two-time champions Chennaiyin FC, as both sides look to end their winless run this season. Both teams currently sit at the bottom of the table, with the Stallions just one point ahead of the Marina Machans.
John Gregory (Chennaiyin FC)
The Englishman looked pretty casual as he approached the media and also engaged his humorous self as the conference concluded.
Gregory began by talking about the tactical changes, fitness of the players and their dismal run so far this campaign. He is happy that he has 25 fit players in the squad and fortunately, there are no injuries and no suspensions either. “It is good to have plenty of players to choose from for tomorrow’s game,” he said.
Although, Chennaiyin have a good record against Pune City- four wins and a draw in five games, Gregory is not relying on past successes. “I’m glad that we have a good record against them. History suggests that we are lucky. But, Pune City will be tough out there. We need to win the game and cannot just rely on our luck.”
The 64-year-old expressed disappointment in the performances of the team this season and went on to say, “It is an embarrassment, especially for myself.”
Furthermore, the under-scrutiny head coach was asked about how the bad results have affected the mentality of the players in the dressing room to which he replied, “Yes, I think it affects the thinking of the players. After all, we have faced five defeats in six games. The suffering is real, but we need to have more belief in ourselves. We have a tough schedule and need time to reach our maximum performance level.”
But, he went on to support the players saying, “They are trying hard. They have a positive attitude and while the game is on, it never changes. It is hard for the new players to adapt with the team. However, the existing players have a good influence on the team and that is very helpful.”
Pradyum Reddy (FC Pune City)
Starting with an update on Diego Carlos’ suspension, the coach declared that the forward will be out for about three matches. “We saw the tackle he made late in the game and it was a fair decision by the committee.”
He went on to talk about the impact that Carlos’ suspension would have on the team. “It will be hard for us now as we really need goalscorers at the moment. This is a crucial juncture for us in the league as the team is down and you need goalscorers.”
Furthermore, Reddy also expressed disappointment in the team’s performances this season. “No one would have thought that the semi-finalists of last season would be at such a low position.”
The interim coach is wary of the fact that Tuesday’s game is a must-win for Pune as it will be even more difficult later to reach the top half of the table. However, he looked satisfied with the way the team has responded, especially after the sacking of his predecessor Miguel Portugal a few days ago.
“You could see the positive change in the attitude of the team. We have become defensively more strong now. There have been pretty much 2-3 goals in the last two games. But, we have a long way to go," he quipped before adding, "It is good that our key players are performing.”
Asked about how Robin Singh is faring in his new wing position the tactician replied, “Indian players are quite flexible with their positions. You need to be versatile with more positions. Robin has been playing on the wing for three matches and he is doing pretty well.”
“In the midfield also, Jonathan Vila has performed good. He needs to do more to help in the attack as we cannot play the defence much deep.”
Talking about Marko Stankovic’s injury, Reddy confirmed that the midfielder will be out for a game or two.
FC Pune City
Marko Stankovic will be out for about a couple of games, while the rest of the squad is fit and fine. The Stallions will also miss the services of Diego Carlos who has been suspended for two additional matches.
Apart from the long-term injury of Dhanpal Ganesh, there are no further in the squad as everyone else is physically fit.
FC Pune City
Did You Know?
- Both Pune City and Chennaiyin have not won a single game this season.
- Chennaiyin have a fantastic record against Pune City as they have won on four occasions, while drawing once in their last five games against the Stallions.
- This will be Pradyum Reddy’s third game with the Stallions as an interim head coach after the sacking of Miguel Portugal.
The game will take place on Monday at 7:30 PM IST at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex. It will be telecasted on Star Sports 1, JioTV and Hotstar.