John Gregory: Marco will be a tough act to follow

My style and my training, whatever it may be, will be different to Marco. However, like Marco, I hate losing. Both of us only want to win," says the Chennaiyin FC coach.

"I have no fear of leaving out a foreign player for a domestic talent if the latter deserves to be in the team," says John Gregory.   -  M. Vedhan

John Gregory will be making his ISL debut from the dugout and the difference between the new Chennaiyin FC gaffer and former bossman Marco Materazzi is like chalk and cheese. However, the lines blur on one aspect...

Question: You're taking over from Marco Materazzi. How different are you from the Italian?

Answer: Yeah, I'm slightly different from Marco (Materazzi). Of course, I wasn't here last year so it could be a hard act for me to follow.  He has become a legend at our club. Obviously, my style and my training, whatever it may be, will be different to Marco. However, like Marco, I hate losing. Both of us only want to win!

What do you expect from the players?

Passion. You have to play with passion. You have to play like you actually mean it. When you pull on that blue shirt with that badge on the front, you play for it and not for yourself. We are in a sport where you're not on your own; you have 10 people relying on you and vice versa. We got lads here whom I believe want to play for the team.

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Your thoughts on the squad at your disposal. There have been some changes in personnel...

Last season we obviously conceded far too many goals, especially in the last 10-15 minutes of the games which suggested to me that we lacked the ability to last the entire 90+ minutes. So, fitness is something we looked at and wanted to improve, so it was time to bring in fresh names and close the door on one or two players. We're very happy with the guys we have brought in. Last year we conceded 25 goals in 14 games, which is too many for our standards, so we worked hard on the defensive side of the team, in training and built our team on a strong defence.

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Will you stick to the 'six Indians, five foreigners' ratio or does your team allow you to be flexible?

Yeah, why not have seven Indians on the pitch? The whole idea is to promote Indian players. I've come here with the concept of developing Indian players and making sure they get minutes on the pitch. I have no fear of leaving out a foreign player for a domestic talent if the latter deserves to be in the team.

Your assessment of ISL rivals.

Each and every one of them count. Away matches will be a tough challenge for us. There are nine (away) matches this season and you win your championships away from home.

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