The Marina Machans have already qualified for the ISL playoffs this edition.
Chennaiyin FC gear up to welcome Mumbai City FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Saturday in their final Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 league-phase encounter. The 2015 champions are currently unbeaten in their last four games and would aim to collect three points to try for a second-place league finish, after having already qualified for the semi-final.
On the eve of the fixture, their head coach John Gregory spoke to the media during the pre-match press conference and stressed the importance of getting a win from this encounter. “It’s a big game for us. The players are playing for places in the semi-finals,” he said. “It’s really up to those guys and the way they go about the game tomorrow. And we obviously want to finish strongly. It’s our last regular season game and in all our games we have been tested.”
The Englishman also lauded the players for their performance that led to the team being where they are at present. “I think we have made our mark this season,” Gregory remarked. “We have secured a playoff spot with a game to go. And I am delighted at the way everybody has gone about their work for me, for the club and for the team. Now we have only one match to go and we must make sure that we go about it in a professional way.”
The 63-year-old further explained what had brought the best out of his players during the league phase. “Our boys’ attitude throughout this season has been excellent,” he said. “They have not been too excited when they won and when results have gone against us, we have not been too downhearted. We have managed to pick ourselves quickly and get on with it. I have got such an amazing group of professional players. They deserve all the plaudits for making it to the semi-finals.”
Mumbai City FC visit the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Saturday to take on Chennaiyin FC in their last Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 encounter. The Islanders got knocked out of contention for the semi-finals when they were beaten 5 – 1 by Delhi Dynamos FC in their last fixture but would want to end their campaign on a positive note with a well-earned victory.
The visitor’s head coach Alexandre Guimaraes addressed the media during the pre-match press conference and pointed out that his team was going for the win to secure a sixth-place finish. “We may not have qualified, but we have not lost our respect,” he remarked. “We have all the resources available for our last match, so I would put the best players available tomorrow. And then, we will obviously be going for the win because then we will finish in the sixth place. That is a position where we can be satisfied.”
The 58-year-old also explained why his team failed to make it to the top four. “We have had more situations compared to other teams,” he stated. “In the beginning, we did not have all the eight foreigners available to play for the team. And every year, the Hero ISL is getting more and more competitive. So things like these can hurt a team very much, as they had hurt us.”
The Costa Rican further elaborated before signing off. “All the teams that are in the top four have had a period where they have won three games in a row. For one reason or the other, we never made it. Having nine points in a row can give you a little more calm. But as we could not do it, it hurt us with our hopes of qualification,” he concluded.