Under-pressure ATK takes on a confident ChennaiyinDecember 7, 2017
Chennaiyin FC and ATK, one a former champion and the other current, will enter their Indian Super League match to be held here on Thursday with the sole objective to win but with different mindsets.
While the host will be supremely confident after winning its last two matches — against NorthEast United FC and FC Pune City — without conceding a goal, ATK will be under some pressure to notch up its first victory after two goalless draws and a loss from three matches.
John Gregory, Chennaiyin coach, expressed satisfaction with the way his boys have played so far at the pre-match press conference on Wednesday . “[I am] pleased with the two and a half games [the second session in the first match against FC Goa] where we did not concede a goal. More importantly, we scored three times in the last 10 minutes of the match.”
When asked whether striker Jeje Lalpekhlua not scoring yet has been a big concern, Gregory replied in the negative. “I thought that his best was against Pune City [away].
“He worked exceptionally hard. If he continues to work that hard, the goals will come,” said the Briton.
It’s not been a great start to the new season for the new ATK coach, Teddy Sheringham. And he admitted as much, but vowed to fight it out.
“Not the best of starts. We are positive anyway,” said the former Manchester United forward.
Sheringham said that forward Robbie Keane, midfielders Eugeneson Lyngdoh, and Carl Baker will not be playing on Thursday as they have not recovered sufficiently from their injuries.
The 51-year-old was also critical of the standard of refereeing in the league. “I think there have been some horrendous challenges in [some] matches that have gone unpunished.”
Chennaiyin’s overall record against ATK isn’t favourable. It has lost three, won one and drawn four, but Gregory was confident of pulling off a win, just as against NEUFC.