ISL 2018-19: Chennaiyin FC's John Gregory - Nice to see the old Mailson back

Chennaiyin coach John Gregory praised the performances of Mailson Alves and Jeje Lalpekhlua...

Defending champions Chennaiyin FC finally picked up their first win of the season as the visitors staged an impressive second-half comeback to overcome FC Pune City 4-2 at the Balewadi Sports Complex.

Chennaiyin FC coach John Gregory felt that this game was not much different from the ones they lost.

"I think that we played some very close matches before today and didn’t get the results that we deserved. The football has been excellent in the previous games but we couldn’t get the break. We gave away a couple of goals due to a couple of mistakes at the back.”

However, the professionalism shown by the players and their discipline helped dig them out of the hole they put themselves in. The Englishman was extremely pleased with Mailson Alves' performance and mentioned that it reminded him of the level the player played at last season.

“But I think things changed today. The players never lost their desire or professionalism. Even after we went 1-0 down, we continued playing. The confidence has been severely damaged in some of the games but they continued to work hard. We knew that if we continued with the way we were playing, eventually the results would turn our way. Hopefully, this is the start of many good things to come.

“We had Mailson Alves back in the line-up today and he was pretty much like he was last season. He scored a goal and defended well. It was nice to see the old Mailson back again today.”

Chennaiyin found themselves at the brink of another defeat as they trailed Pune by a goal at half time. But the other side of the break saw an entirely different Chennai as they smashed four past Kamaljit Singh in 18 minutes. Gregory didn't want to disclose the secret half time talk that fueled his boys and played it down by complimenting his players instead. The Englishman had a word for Jeje Lalpekhlua who has not been an undisputed starter for Chennai this season.

“I didn’t want to change anything at half-time. I think we did well keeping possession and creating chances. I think Pune got one chance and they converted it. Germanpreet Singh and Anirudh Thapa ran the midfield. They were up against players who are more experienced than them and they did a good job.

“This was Jeje’s best game so far. He was left out in a couple of games and I think it worked as he did well today. He might be disappointed not to have scored today but he did well.”

Gregory was happy that the team ended their winless and believed that going into the break with three points from the last game is motivating. 

“The players lacked a bit of self-belief after all the poor results. But I had belief in them. We need to keep working hard and never give up. The dressing room was very quiet today but this win gave everyone hope. Everyone’s smiling now and we are going into the break with three points. We have a tough game against Jamshedpur after that and need to get ready for that”