ISL 2018: Costa lauds his team’s character, Gregory still hopeful of turnaround

Mumbai head coach Jorge Costa lauded his players after the 1-0 against Chennaiyin FC, especially Milan Singh, for showing a lot of courage and commitment in face of personal tragedy.

John Gregory and Jorge Costa at the full time whistle.   -  ISL/SPORTZPICS

Mumbai City FC picked up its first win on the road in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2018-19 campaign after edging past defending champion Chennaiyin FC 1-0 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai. Modou Sougou’s strike in the first half proved enough for the Islanders, who climbed up to the fifth spot in the table with the three points earned from tonight's victory.

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After the win, Mumbai head coach Jorge Costa lauded his players, especially Milan Singh, for showing a lot of courage and commitment in face of personal tragedy. “I cannot be happy because my players are not happy. Because before the game, Milan had bad news. But anyway he wanted to play. So, we must respect him. Of course, I am happy with the game. But we must respect him. His brother died before the game. Still, he wanted to play. We must give it to him because he deserves it,” he said.

Chennaiyin dominated possession and made it difficult for Costa’s men to assert any type of control over the match. The Portuguese, however, suggested that his team adjusted well to the situation and said, “We had a good first half when we had the ball. We scored a goal. We did not have clear opportunities to score but we had the control in the first half. Chennaiyin did not have one opportunity in the first half.

"In the second half, because we don’t play and we are winning 1-0 they put us to defend. But this is part of football. They had one chance where they hit the post. But we didn’t have the ball. We didn’t have the ball today. But we controlled the game without the ball. But, congratulations to my players. I think we go back home with the three points.”

Asked about his team’s chances of making the playoffs, Costa insisted it’s too early to think about it. “Today, we finish one third. Six games, ten points. If we keep this, mathematically it is 30 points. Last year, it was enough. But, yes. We are on the right way. We have twelve games to play. But things can change. We are far from perfect. We have a lot of work to do. But generally, I am happy,” he stated.

Chennaiyin coach, John Gregory, on the other hand, lamented his team's lack of luck this season. The Englishmen also went on to appreciate the effort of his players and said, “It’s always easy to change personnel, for the sake of it sometimes. I don’t think that’s the answer. To be fair, we totally dominated. Literally from the first whistle to the last. We literally had the ball the whole time. And Mumbai had one shot in the first half. I think they had two in the second half when we were chasing the game, trying to throw a lot of men forward. Trying to get an equaliser. But again, as always, the effort was first class. The way we kept the football for long periods of the game, I was pleased about it."

"But we didn’t score. And we didn’t really create enough opportunities in front of goal. But other than that, as I said, in football we totally kept the ball from start to finish. They very rarely got into our half of the pitch. When they did, they were offside four, five times. So, we have to turn that possession into goals. And, it’s got to change sooner rather than later. We lost four matches by the odd goal,” he added.

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