John Gregory: Miku's goal the difference

The Venezuelan's 41st-minute strike helped Bengaluru FC beat Chennaiyin FC in the opening match of the 2018-19 season of ISL.

John Gregory explains his team's loss to Bengaluru FC in its first match of the new ISL season.   -  ISL/Sportzpics

John Gregory, the Chennaiyin FC manager, reckoned that his team was punished for a sloppy mistake which resulted in Miku scoring the goal that proved to be the winner for Bengaluru FC in the teams' opening match of the ISL season.

Miku's goal came in the 41st minute, at a time when Chennaiyin had been the better team, creating chances and having a handful of opportunities to score.

"Not a lot went wrong, to be honest. We gave the ball away for the goal, which obviously I get upset about. [We were] not really under pressure, a bit sloppy in that respect and the last person you want it to go to is Miku. He didn't hang about, he didn't try to be clever, he just put his head down and smashed it in, really, and that's the only thing that separated us," Gregory said in the post-match press conference.

"By then, I felt that we should have at least been ahead. I felt we had good opportunities and when you come to a place like this, you always have to try and contain the home team and we felt that we did that really well... for 20-25 minutes. They didn't really threaten our goal that much during that time, but, obviously, it's nerves, it's the first match of the season, things are so different.

Read: Miku screamer helps Bengaluru exact revenge

"Whatever you do in pre-season, it never, ever is a good substitute for the real thing [competitive matches]. And with the real thing comes a little bit of nerves.

"We just now need to relax, sit down, have a look at some of the bits and pieces, where we went wrong on the night and where we can improve on, and get set, ready to go next weekend.

The Chennaiyin FC coach was happy with the effort his players put in over the course of the 90 minutes. "Effort-wise, I can't fault the boys."

Gregory's opposite number, Carles Cuadrat said that Bengaluru FC "played with a lot of intensity" and was particularly threatening in the second half with its counter-attacks.

“I think we played a really good game. We kept the ball moving with a lot of intensity, trying to play one-touch football through the middle. We had very good counter-attacks in the second half. The way we scored the goal was a great assist from Xisco [Hernandez] for Miku.”

The Bengaluru FC manager said scoring first proved crucial for his team, terming it "lucky".

“We were lucky to be the first team to score. If they had scored first with the chances they had, it would have been a completely different game. This is football, when the two teams are really competitive, it happens.”

Cuadrat also felt that Bengaluru's lack of sharpness may have been a result of this being the first match of the season and the team coming into this match on the back of two losses against Altyn Asyr in the AFC Cup.

“If you analyse the first half, they created some chances but all of them were due to mistakes by us in the transition. Maybe because it was the first game, maybe it was because we came into the game on the back of two losses in the AFC Cup (against Altyn Asyr),” said the Spaniard.