John Gregory: 'Losing hurts me 10 times more than supporters'

Chennaiyin FC lost 3-2 to ATK at home on Sunday, and with only five points from 10 matches, its playoff qualification is in serious doubt.

Chennaiyin FC head coach John Gregory lamented his team’s inability to recover from the poor run of form in the Indian Super League.   -  Sportzpics

Two defensive mistakes in its own box, leading to penalties, resulted in Chennaiyin FC suffering its seventh defeat of the season and ATK completing the second league double over the fellow two-time ISL champion. With only five points from 10 matches — and 10 points adrift of fourth-placed Jamshedpur FC — playoff qualification is in serious doubt.

John Gregory was defiant in the post-match press conference, but he also lamented his team’s inability to recover from this poor run of form.

“It’s not going very well for us; everything seems to be going against us. It’s disappointing that we didn’t get anything out of the game, but the chances were there, we had opportunities to win the game. (I will) stand up for my team, but you look at my team and they can’t give anything more than what they gave. We played until the 95th minute and we were camped in their box, and that’s been our story of the season.

“Defensively, Mailson (Alves) and (Eli) Sabia were fantastic. They both had superb games and there were quite a few others who didn’t deserve to be on the losing team. But this has been the story of our season so far.

READ | ISL 2018-19: Impressive Thoi Singh unable to arrest Chennaiyin's slump

“The morale in the team is very good. The camaraderie amongst them (the players) is like it’s always been, to be honest. It (keeping the morale high) is the number-one priority.”

Asked if he feels the pressure of the poor run of results, Gregory said that he doesn’t feel the pressure but is disappointed by the way the season has gone so far.

“I want to shield my team from everything I possibly can. One thing I don’t want to do is allow any kind of pressure to be placed upon them. They should be able to play football, enjoy their football. I try and take responsibility for that (the poor results).

"I am 64-years-old, I don’t feel the pressure. I feel huge disappointment for everyone at the club, I don’t carry pressure as such; I carry disappointment, a hurt. It hurts me more than anybody else. As much as it hurts the supporters, it hurts me 10 times more,” he said.

ALSO READ | Struggling Delhi Dynamos hopes to turn the tide against Mumbai City FC

Gregory’s opposite number, Steve Coppell, said ATK had to play out of its skin in added time in the second half to claim all three points.

“After we scored the goal to go 3-1 up, I thought, ‘we’d quietly see out the game’. The mistake that gave them their second goal created an atmosphere. It transforms what was a flat period of football and we had to do some really good defending in the end and hang in there.

“(I am) pleased with the three points and realise how important the three points were, not just for us but also for Chennai,” the ATK manager said.