The Chennai assistant coach felt individual errors cost his team the game…

Chennaiyin FC succumbed to their second defeat of Hero Indian Super League 2016 after losing 4-1 against Delhi Dynamos FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on Wednesday. Goals from Richard Gadze and Florent Malouda gave the Dynamos a 2-0 lead before a Bernard Mendy strike halved the deficit heading into the break. However, two more goals from Kean Lewis and Malouda in the second period saw the Lions complete the double over the defending champions this season.

Speaking to the media at the post-match press conference, Chennaiyin assistant coach Sabir Pasha admitted that their first-half showing left the champions with too much to do in the second period. “You can see the first goal we gave away was a very silly goal. At the start, we wanted to see that we finish the first half without conceding any goals. But unfortunately, we conceded some silly goals and that set the tone for the game. We had to go all out in the second half as there was no other option. Unfortunately, that didn’t work,” Pasha said.

Delhi beat Chennaiyin 3-1 in the Lions’ opening fixture of the season in Chennai and produced an even better performance on Wednesday night as they turned over the reigning champions by a bigger score-line. Pasha, however, batted away suggestions that the quality within the Delhi ranks had taken Chennai by surprise. “I’m not surprised. We spoke in the tactical room and knew how they are going to play in the home match or how they play in the away match. I think Marco [Materazzi] was almost right in the home match as to how they would play and today too he got it right. Unfortunately, the players were not able to deliver,” he said.

Chennai have now shipped seven goals in two matches against Delhi this year with only bottom-placed FC Goa (13 goals) conceding more than their 11 goals overall so far. When asked if his side’s defensive organisation was an area of concern, Pasha said: “Sometimes tactics don’t work, when individual errors happen. Tactically, we were right. Like in the first few minutes, we were on the dot, able to track players. Unfortunately, a silly mistake by our player and the ball landed to Malouda who is one of the best in the ISL. I think we were prepared and there were no shortcomings. It was not executed properly on the field and we will look to ensure it’s done.”

Pasha also dismissed suggestions that such a heavy defeat could have a dampening effect on the morale of the team. “These players are professional. We cannot tell them how to come back, they will do it themselves. They are big players, they know how to come back. It is our job to work on our practice sessions and work on mistakes. We will come back strongly in the next matches,” he said.

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