ISL: Chennaiyin to test bench strength against Mumbai City

With play-offs sealed, Chennaiyin coach John Gregory revealed he will look beyond his regular starters in the dead-rubber clash against Mumbai City in the Indian Super League.

Chennaiyin FC

Chennaiyin FC players in training on Friday ahead of match against Mumbai City FC.   -  B. Jothi Ramalingam

 

Having successfully sealed a playoff berth, Chennaiyin FC will look for a morale-boosting win ahead of the semifinal stage when it hosts Mumbai City FC in the Indian Super League on Saturday.

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Chennaiyin currently sits third on the table and coach John Gregory is in fact perfectly content with his side's standing. "The record over the three years of the ISL is that the team that has finished on top during the regular season has never gone on to lift the cup. I am just happy that we managed to finish in the top-four," a witty Gregory told reporters on Friday. 

"My initial target was to get into the playoffs because once you get here you always have a chance. I'm delighted that we managed to secure our berth with a game to go," he added.

When asked if there would be any new names in Saturday's line-up, the Englishman remarked he would be making a couple of changes. "I will make one or two changes and give some game time to some of the guys who were on the bench and some who weren't even on the bench. If the guys who come in can perform well and fit into the system, they can stake a claim for a spot in the line-up for the semifinal," he noted.

Commenting on the semifinal clashes that are looming around the corner, Gregory said he hadn't given them much thought. “We want to focus on Mumbai City and are not giving the playoffs a lot of thought. Once Saturday's match is done, we'll look ahead and see who we'll face next week. I hope it's not Manchester City!” said Gregory, in a visibly jolly mood.

Although the tie has little significance to the visiting Mumbai side, coach Alexandre Guimaraes said he would like to end the season with a win. "We will certainly aim for a win (against Chennaiyin). We will finish sixth if we take all three points tomorrow and that will give us some sense of satisfaction," he said.

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