Chennai, October 29, 2019: Chennaiyin FC Head Coach John Gregory and Goalkeeper Vishal Kaith addressed the media on Tuesday prior to the clash with fellow two-time champions ATK. As always, Gregory was in a candid mood, speaking his mind and occasionally his heart with Vishal being coy alongside.
“I was delighted we kept a clean sheet (against Mumbai City FC), a lot down to Vishal and the back four defending well. Mumbai did have a few chances, which they didn’t convert. Defensively I was very pleased. I hope we can continue on that. ATK had an amazing victory (over Hyderabad FC). It’s like they scored with every opportunity they got. With (David) Williams and (Roy) Krishna upfront, they will be difficult to keep quiet. We’re confident going into the ATK match though; that clean sheet was something we didn’t get very often last season. I hope that’s the first of many, many more to come,” Gregory remarked.
The Chennaiyin gaffer did however confess his bewilderment at how his side failed to score after creating plenty of openings in a blistering first twenty odd minutes. “We did everything but score. We had a lot of chances, tons of shots. We certainly had the opportunities to score. Nerka (Nerijus Valskis) had a couple of chances too after coming on. I’m happy we’re creating chances though which wasn’t the case too often last season. But we were somewhat disappointed we actually didn’t win the match,” he lamented.
Vishal on the other hand stated his delight at settling in at the club, after having completed a move from FC Pune City. “The atmosphere here in Chennai is great. The fans have showered me with a lot of love. The atmosphere within the team is also really good, we’re all motivated to do well,” said the keeper from Himachal Pradesh.
“The primary aim for any goalkeeper or defender is to keep a clean sheet. ATK have a good attack line, so we have to be up for the challenge. We obviously can’t guarantee anything, but we try our absolute best to keep a clean sheet,” he added.
The tie against ATK will be both clubs’ third game in seven days, and Gregory stressed greatly on the need to get the elusive three points in front of the home fans. “I’ll just be happy if we win, not necessarily what the score is. The likes of Vishal and our defence will enjoy the most when the opposition don’t score. So if we get a clean sheet and just win 1-0, I’ll be delighted with it. We’re not really a side that has had too many high-scoring matches, even during the championship-winning year in 2017-18. I want it to be exciting, I want it to be enjoyable, but in the end, I want to win it. I don’t care if it’s 7-6 or 1-0 as long as we win. It’s important for us and the club to stay in the race. And the performance against Mumbai was pleasing and we’ll be aiming to build on that and get a positive result tomorrow night,” Gregory said with determination.