Defending champions Chennaiyin FC will play their final match of the calendar year when they take on Delhi Dynamos FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Saturday.
Both sides have endured a poor campaign and their hopes of finishing in the top four seem to be practically over. However, Chennaiyin will be hoping to pick up maximum points to ensure that they go into the winter break on a positive note.
At the pre-match press conference, Chennaiyin FC head coach John Gregory was present to answer the media´s questions. The Englishman began by talking about the parallels between his side and Delhi. "I think Delhi are the second unluckiest team after us in the league. They just seem to have bad luck after bad luck. Josep (Gombau) is doing a great job there. He has kept going. In the last match against Jamshedpur, they didn$acute;t get a clear penalty. This has been Delhi´s season. So, there are a lot of parallels to be drawn between the two of us. I just hope that their luck continues to be bad just for the next day," he said.
Throughout the season, Chennaiyin have failed to meet the lofty expectations, which has culminated in them holding a lowly ninth position in the table. Gregory took full responsibility for the side´s poor form, saying, "I always take responsibility for the outcome and this season has been no different. For everything that has happened, the head coach needs to stand up and be counted. It has been a difficult season in many respects. Consequently, I have to accept the responsibility for the outcome of the season."
Chennaiyin´s disastrous campaign has coincided with a trend that has seen defending Hero ISL champions struggle in the season following their triumph. Gregory admitted that he was surprised by the way things have panned out and conceded that his side´s chances of making the playoffs are slim to none.
"I am really amazed that no one has ever had the ability to come back and challenge for the title. In 2016, we had a poor season. ATK had a very poor season last year. I could never imagine that we would have a poor season. But maybe there hasn´t quite been the same hunger in some of the teams that have won. It would appear that we are not going to be in the playoffs this season," he opined.
Gregory admits Chennaiyin´s playoff chances are more or less over
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