“Need to shut the door once we go ahead” – John Gregory post OFC draw

Chennai, November 28, 2019: A frustrated Chennaiyin FC Head Coach John Gregory addressed the media after the 2-2 draw against Odisha FC in the Hero Indian Super League encounter at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here today.

The Englishman definitely thought it was a case of two points dropped after his side were pegged back twice following Lithuanian’s striker Nerijus Valskis’ well taken goals.

“Definitely two points lost, or two points given away. We could’ve gone 7th tonight if we would’ve managed to hang on. We weren’t good in the first half. Odisha were the better team. But we showed a lot of grit and determination after the break. The goals are flowing in now, aren’t they? (chuckles). Nerka (Nerijus Valskis) is up and running now. He took both his goals really well, the first one especially a good team move,” he said while summing up proceedings.

After an insipid first half display, Gregory made a half time change by bringing on Germanpreet Singh in place of Afghan midfielder Masih Saighani. And he was particularly impressed by the former’s display. “I made a tactical move with Germanpreet coming on for Masih. He got into the game straightaway. Covered a lot of ground. He gave us a little bit of tempo that we were lacking. He added balance in central midfield and also got in some great positions,” he praised the Punjab midfielder.

Gregory was however frustrated at his side’s overall showing and inability to defend a lead. “Sometimes it’s a mental thing. Once you score, you have to be switched on, get the ball back, put the opposition under pressure. We need to be more defensive minded and aware of danger.”

“We were a bit lax and soft, in many respects. We had three players around one player (Nandha) for their second goal. Not one of them made contact whatsoever. That side of things needs to improve. A frustrating day for us overall. I’m happy that we scored but we need to shut that door once we get ahead. And not allow the opposition back into the game,” Gregory lamented.

Speaking about the penalty shout for the challenge from Narayan Das on Valskis in the 77th minute when his side was 2-1 up, Gregory said, “It looked like a nailed on penalty. It’s then a red card and these things, they can give you a result. It would’ve given us a win that we deserved for that second half performance,” he said.