Football

Chennaiyin FC will aim for a morale-boosting win

Having a blast: With a playoff berth already sealed, Chennaiyin FC players present a happy picture ahead of their final league game against Mumbai City.

Having a blast: With a playoff berth already sealed, Chennaiyin FC players present a happy picture ahead of their final league game against Mumbai City.  

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Coach Gregory to give fringe players some game time

Having successfully sealed a playoff berth, Chennaiyin FC will look for a morale-boosting win ahead of the semifinal stage when it hosts Mumbai City FC in the Indian Super League here on Saturday.

Chennaiyin currently sits third on the table and coach John Gregory is, in fact, perfectly content with his side’s standing. “The record over the three years of the ISL is that the team that has finished on top during the regular season has never gone on to lift the cup. I am just happy that we managed to finish in the top-four,” a witty Gregory told reporters on Friday.

“My initial target was to get into the playoffs because once you get here you always have a chance. I’m delighted that we managed to secure our berth with a game to go,” he added.

When asked if there would be any new names in Saturday’s line-up, the Dutchman remarked he would be making a couple of changes.

“I will make one or two changes and give game time to some of the guys who were on the bench and some who weren’t even on the bench. If the guys who come in can perform well and fit into the system, they can stake a claim for a spot in the line-up for the semifinal,” he noted.

Commenting on the semifinal clashes that are looming around the corner, Gregory said he hadn’t given them much thought.

“We want to focus on tomorrow’s game and are not giving the playoffs a lot of thought. Once tomorrow’s match is done, we’ll look ahead and see who we’ll face next week. I hope it’s not Manchester City!” said Gregory, in a visibly jolly mood.

Although the tie has little significance to the visiting Mumbai side, coach Alexandre Guimaraes said he would like to end the season with a win.

“We will certainly aim for a win tomorrow. We will finish sixth if we take all three points tomorrow and that will give us some sense of satisfaction,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 8:47:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/chennaiyin-fc-will-aim-for-a-morale-boosting-win/article22911339.ece

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