The main round of the Super Cup commences with Chennaiyin FC playing fellow Indian Super League outfit Mumbai City FC at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Friday. The former ISL champion finished at the bottom of the table whereas the Islander made it to the semifinals in the recently concluded season.
At the pre-match press conference, Chennaiyin boss John Gregory, shared his opinion on whether the Islander is better-placed going into Friday’s match. “Yes, I think they have an advantage because they had a very good season. But we still have a lot to play for, being involved in two Cup competitions. We’re treating this competition very seriously and we want to do well,” he said.
Gregory, however, did feel that his players were confident going into the match thanks to their progression in the AFC Cup. “Yes, it’s given us good confidence. Jeje Lalpekhlua has had a difficult season along with the rest of us. But he scored in the Colombo game. He scored the match-winner. That’s put a big smile on his face. On the training ground, the players have been excellent, working very hard.
“This time last year we weren’t that interested because we had just won the Hero ISL. We've been away from home for a long season last year, but we won the championship. So, we were in a much happier frame of mind. But this year, we haven’t had such a good Hero ISL season. We still want to have this opportunity in the Super Cup, to have a go and try to win it,” he said.
The Englishman also commented on the desire within his team’s ranks to pull-off a successful Super Cup adventure. “Yes, I think so. Its been tough. Greg (Gregory Nelson) was part of the Championship winning team last year. We’ve not enjoyed this season. Its been tough for us. All of us who were here 12 months ago know what it was like, know the feeling that we had within the squad having had a great season. We really enjoyed last year. It was a lot of fun, lot of success, lot of attention. To have a season like this year has been a big disappointment for us. So, we are a lot more motivated at this stage of the season wanting to be successful in the Super Cup.”
Mumbai City FC coach Jorge Costa, on the other hand, voiced similar hopes pertaining to the Super Cup. He said, “We are here to do our best. We respect this competition a lot. It is the last competition of the season and we want to finish well. We will try to do our best. We will try to go as far as possible starting from tomorrow’s game. It’s a game we want to win 100%.”
Hinting at increased chances for the youth in the tournament, Costa said, “Yes, as I told before, this is a competition we respect a lot. But me as a head coach of this club, I have to make some options. We are going to play this competition thinking also about next season. We have only one foreign player, Lucian Goian. And some young players who will have this opportunity to play and to tell me that they have the quality I’m looking for next season. So, tomorrow you’ll see some change in our team.”
Moving further, the Portuguese gave his views on the Chennaiyin squad. “Very good team with very good players. They made a season no one was expecting to be like it was. They have very good Indian players and very good foreign players. So, we are not expecting an easy game tomorrow. We respect a lot this competition. We respect a lot Chennai. We want to do well tomorrow and to go as far as possible in this competition,” he said.
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