'I was delighted to hear the final whistle,' remarks Chennaiyin FC coach John Gregory

According to John Gregory, the Mailson Alves' second goal, on the stroke of half-time, was the game-changer.

Chennaiyin FC coach John Gregory couldn't wait to hear the final whistle after Miku halved the deficit for Bengaluru FC.   -  ISL

After successfully clinching the Indian Super League title in his debut season with Chennaiyin FC, John Gregory is a satisfied man. “I was delighted to hear the final whistle,” said the Englishman post his side's 3-2 triumph over Bengaluru FC. 

“It's not easy when you play a final in someone else's home ground. Its a distinct advantage to the home team but we showed a lot of guts from going 1-0 down to win the title,” he quipped. 

Read: Alves brace helps Chennaiyin FC clinches second title

When asked about the turning point of the game, Gregory said it was undoubtedly Mailson Alves' second goal in the 45th minute that swung the momentum in his side's favour. “Taking the lead just before half-time gave us a huge advantage. I've been on the opposite side at times and conceding before the break really deflates you,” he said. 

“It also changes the topic of the team talk at half-time. I told the boys to keep a clean sheet in the second half and not let BFC back into the game,” he added.

Gregory went on to shower praise on Alves for his match-winning brace. “The big man has scored only two goals this season in 20 games. He's had lots of opportunities earlier and had never found the net until today. But the two goals he scored tonight, he couldn't have placed them any better,” he remarked. 

Roca takes the blame

After the stinging loss at home, Bengaluru coach Albert Roca felt he could have timed his substitutions better. “I was wondering if I made my last two substitutions at the right moment. I felt I couldn’t wait for too long because, after 50 minutes, I thought we had to defend with five players. It was a risk but I'll take the blame. Sometimes it's not the players, it's the coach and perhaps I made a mistake today,” he noted. 

The Spaniard admitted that conceding two goals from identical set-pieces had dented his side's confidence and had virtually knocked them out of the game. “It was disappointing that we conceded two goals from set pieces in the first half. We controlled the game until that moment and it was a disaster for us to concede those two goals,” he said.  

Chennaiyin FC's night to remember at Kanteerava

Talking about the pressure his side faced playing at home and whether it got the better of them, he said, “There was always pressure on us because we topped the league stage. I think we controlled the pressure well but we could not control Alves from scoring twice,” he remarked.

Chennaiyin will next take on Aizawl FC in the AIFF Super Cup, while Bengaluru will clash against Gokulam Kerala FC.