Chennaiyin FC head coach John Gregory on Thursday bemoaned the lack of ruthlessness in last season’s Indian Super League, which saw the team finish last among the 10 teams.
Gregory emphasised the importance of being ruthless and said the lack of it was reflected in last season’s performances. He also said it had been decided to ‘freshen’ things up for the 2019-’20 edition.
“After the poor performance in season 5, we decided to make a fresh approach. Maybe we didn’t work as hard as we had done in season 4. We just freshened up everything,” he told reporters in Chennai.
“It is important to be ruthless. Maybe we were not ruthless in the season 5, which hurt our performances.
“We’ve made necessary changes to our squad for the coming season, and there’s a lot of positivity in the camp. We’ve had a great pre-season in Ahmedabad and Jamshedpur, and the boys have come together really well, a proper unit. Now it is important for us to carry this preparation and momentum into the new ISL season,” Gregory added.
Speaking after the unveiling of the squad for 2019-’20 season, Gregory said he had met CFC co-owner Vita Dani after the last-place finish in the fifth edition with his contract up for renewal and added she wanted him to stay on and offered a new deal.
Admitting that the team had made a lot of mistakes on and off the field in the previous season, the CFC coach said for the players it was a learning.
“We made a lot of mistakes on and off the field. Maybe we didn’t work as hard as we did during our winning run in season 4. I don’t see it (last sesason’s performance) as a failure, I look at it as a lesson. Now, generally there is a much better feeling around the camp,” he added.
He also said that the role of the foreign players in a team’s performance was important and the (foreigners) in CFC could not replicate what they did in the sesason 4.
India international Anirudh Thapa said the team was looking forward to the new season and a fresh start.
“A new season with new faces and a fresh start. All we’re focusing on is to gel well together and make a good start. That’s all that matters right now,” said Thapa.
Thapa will be away with the national team along with new signing Lallianzuala Chhangte ahead of their Fifa World Cup qualifier against Bangladesh on October 15 at Kolkata.
Gregory was happy about roping in Chhangte, who he said could add a lot of value to the team.
New signing Lucian Goian also reflected on his move to Chennaiyin FC, saying, “From my very first contact with the club and the coach here, I have always trusted in the vision to win the ISL championship. It’s a club that knows how to win, and I trust the project and the coach (John Gregory) to guide us in achieving success.
The two-time ISL champion has retained 12 players from the start of the previous campaign and the club’s 25-man squad for the upcoming season comprises many youngsters like Rahim Ali (19), Hendry Antonay (19), Reamsochung Aimol (19) and Deepak Tangri (20).
Local midfielder Dhanpal Ganesh is back fit after missing majority of the last campaign with a knee injury. Ganesh is joined by another top Tamil Nadu talent in right-back Edwin Vanspaul, who joined the club in the summer. CFC begins the ISL 6 campaign with a trip to FC Goa on October 23.
(with PTI inputs)