Chennaiyin FC coach John Gregory believes that the currently-crowned Indian Super League champions have come to Bhubaneswar with nothing but ‘intention of winning’ as the Chennai-outfit will open their Super Cup 2018 campaign against Aizawl FC on Sunday.
“The Super League season has ended. The euphoria of winning the final is already over and now we have another challenge right in front of us. We are a very professional outfit and we’re back to the ground now to focus on this tournament starting tomorrow with every intention of winning.”
The Indian Super League (ISL) champions had played a pre-season friendly match against the previous I-League champions in October and Gregory mentioned that his team has knowledge of the Highlanders’ capability on the pitch and how fierce the contest is going to be tomorrow.
“We played a pre-season game against them. We know a bit about them. They were very successful last season, became I-League champions. We are obviously aware of the fact that it’s going to be a fiercely contested game tomorrow.”
Dhanapal Ganesh, who is back from the Indian national team setup following the AFC Asian Cup qualifier game, added, “We had enjoyed a lot after winning the ISL title but now we’re focusing on tomorrow’s match. It’s definitely going to be a tough challenge for us.”
Nonetheless, coach John Gregory hinted that he might throw in a few new players into the ring tomorrow.
“In the ISL, we couldn’t experiment much as all the games were very crucial. There’s always a possibility of throwing 1-2 players with lesser experience to tomorrow’s game who couldn’t game more opportunity before.”
On the other hand, Aizawl FC coach Santosh Kashyap stressed that the match is very evenly poised and his boys can spoil Chennaiyin FC’s party tomorrow.
“We are a young team and we are pitted against one of the best teams. But anyone can beat anyone in a knock-out tournament. We’ll try to do our best and win tomorrow’s game.”
He further added, “My players are fighters by heart. It’s a great opportunity and we’ll put the best effort to win the game. The boys are here to cope up with the new challenge. It’s nothing but a 50-50 before the game kicks off tomorrow. If we perform to our potential, we can beat them,” Kashyap rattled it out during the pre-match press conference.
Meanwhile, he informed that David Lalrinzuala is injured and is not available tomorrow.
Alfred Jaryan, the Liberian midfielder who led the Northeastern outfit to lifting their maiden I-League trophy last season, mentioned that the team is rearing to show their worth once again and they’re ready to accept the challenge.
“It is a new challenge and we’re ready for that. We have played in different tournaments and we believe that we can show our worth in the Hero Super Cup too.”