'We showed a lot of b***s' - Gregory
Chennaiyin FC's head coach John Gregory credited his team's fighting abilities after winning the Indian Super League (ISL) title with a 3-2 win over Bengaluru FC on Saturday.
"We showed a lot of b***s, coming back from 1-0 down. We didn't let anything bother us," Gregory said of his team's come-from-behind win. "It has still not sunk in yet. Tomorrow it will probably sink in. I am not going to cry yet, but I might do that tomorrow sometime when speaking to the players."
Gregory said that he had approached Saturday's final without any specific game plan, relying instead on the quality of his side. "To be fair, Albert [Bengaluru FC coach Albert Roca] changed his line up, he played three at the back, and two wing-backs, and [Sunil] Chhetri played a little bit closer to Miku. We were expecting that might happen. I thought they made it difficult for us. The likes of Gregory Nelson and Francis Fernandes spent a lot of time in their own half. We got the breaks at the right time. Two set pieces, two great deliveries by Nelson and two excellent finishes from Mailson [Alves]."
Praising Mailson for his performance on the big night, Gregory agreed that the second goal scored by the Brazilian centre-back, on the stroke of half-time, gave his team a huge lift. "Going to half-time 2-1 up gives you a huge advantage. I have been at the other side and it can be deflating. I basically told my team that we needed to keep a clean sheet in the second half. When we got the third goal, it allowed us to relax a bit more."
Mailson's defensive partner Henrique Sereno also drew praise from Gregory, especially as the Chennaiyin captain played the second half despite experiencing some discomfort with his groin. His biggest praise was for right-back Inigo Calderon, who Gregory has worked with before while at Brighton & Hove Albion.
"He is revered there. He is 36, but he is usually the first up at the hotel, the first to breakfast and the first to hit the pool. He got the fittest player of the league award, and it was well-deserved."
Gregory, who said he might be tempted to field all of his unused ISL players in the upcoming main rounds of the Super Cup, added that he had been in discussions with the owners about extending his stay with Chennaiyin.
"To be honest, it might be a good time to resign," he said, before breaking into a wide grin.